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Cigarette Smoking Doesn't Speed Up Disease Progression in PPMS

June 28, 2017
  • The Canadian study, “Smoking does not influence disability accumulation in primary progressive multiple sclerosis,” suggests that smoking may not necessarily make primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) worse. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing MS and an increased number of demyelinating magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesions, yet its long-term effect on worsening disability in PPMS patients is still elusive. The researchers at Canada’s University of Calgary in Alberta have now investigated this possible link by retroactively analyzing data collected from the ongoing Clinical Impact of Multiple Sclerosis study. From an initial pool of 4,862 patients with clinically definite MS, they identified 500 with PPMS, of which 416 (or 83 percent) had available smoking history. Outcomes included the time from disease onset to EDSS 4 and 6, and the time from EDSS 4 to 6. The analysis showed no significant association between cigarette smoking and disability accumulation in PPMS.

    “This finding is in contrast to the influence of smoking on relapses, MRI lesions and disability accumulation in relapsing remitting disease which suggests that cigarette smoking may only contribute to inflammatory outcomes in relapse-onset MS,” researchers wrote. Overall, the team concluded that there is association between cigarette smoking and disability accumulation. According to them, disability accumulation in RRMP and PPMS depends on different underlying pathomechanisms.