Saturday, 16 July 2011

Article of interest (7): Pregnancy is associated with a better prognosis

This study found a reduced risk of developing MS in woman who have had children compared to woman without children. 

The risk associated between not having children and MS increased with age. 

There was a significantly decreased risk of a progressive course in women who became pregnant after MS onset.

"Because of this study, and the fact that pregnancy itself reduces the attack rate, researcher's have been trying to find out what it is about pregnancy that is so beneficial for MS'ers."

"We assume that the profound changes that occur in the woman's immune system in pregnancy are responsible for its beneficial effects." 

"If we can mimic the pregnancy state, without a woman having to fall pregnant, i.e. induce a pseudo-pregnancy, we may discover a very effective treatment for MS."

"So if you are a woman with MS, or are at high risk of developing MS, deciding to have or not have children may be more complex than you realise." 

"This is why I prefer to sit on the fence when it comes to counselling MS'ers about having children, or not. At the end of the day there are too many personal factors that are more important than society's or my perspective. However, if directly asked by one of my patients to give specific advice I will always give my opinion (that's my job); the advice will obviously vary depending on the circumstances of the individual patient."

"Please remember, the practice of medicine, or neurology, is an art not a science."

3 comments:

  1. Thank you. This was a good antidote for the depressing discussion about women with MS having children.
    I hope this line of research leads to something.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My sister had a cake break last week. One of her girlfriends has primary progressive MS and has two children, both of whom were born before she fell ill. Her friend is in her mid-30s and worries a lot about her kids and what may happen to her. Despite having kids before the onset of MS, she still got ill and it was a progressive form of the disease.

    ReplyDelete
  3. RE: "Despite having kids before the onset of MS, she still got ill and it was a progressive form of the disease."

    Unfortunately, there no absolutes in life. There will always be exceptions to the rule, this does not detract from the observations that on average pregnancy is associated with a better prognosis in MS.

    ReplyDelete