A case-control study of multiple sclerosis

Neurology. 1989 Jun;39(6):825-9. doi: 10.1212/wnl.39.6.825.


We conducted a study of 145 persons with multiple sclerosis who had been identified in a 1970 survey and 145 friend controls, to investigate whether the development of MS was associated with exposure to uncommon viruses or an older age at infection with 1 or more common viruses. The most striking finding was a strong positive association for history of infectious mononucleosis (IM), suggesting older age at exposure to Epstein-Barr virus, the most common etiologic agent of IM. We also found significant positive associations for number of different domiciles before adulthood and for visits outside the United States; both would be compatible with an increased likelihood among cases of exposures to uncommon viruses or to multiple strains of a common agent. Cases were younger at menarche, increasing the probability of viral exposure after puberty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Birth Order
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications
  • Menarche
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Travel