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People Living in Urban Areas are at 29% Higher Risk of Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Urban areas are generally considered unhealthy for having a high rate of air pollution. The new study has also initiated a new possibility that those who are living in these areas are at a higher risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study findings are presented at the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Virtual Congress explaining how people living in the countryside have a low risk of getting multiple sclerosis than people living in urban areas. The findings of this study revealed that this risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) was somehow 29% higher which indicates a big risk factor in general health.

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The team of Italian researchers analyzed more than 900 people who suffered from multiple sclerosis. They came to know that the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been increased 10 times within the last 16 years. Initially, in the year 1974, it was only 16 people out of every 100,000 which has increased to 170 people out of every 100,000 people as reported today. This huge increase in the risk means that more and more people are subjected to multiple sclerosis and it also showed that the risk factors for this condition have been increased.

To study the effect of ‘pollution’ this study was organized in winter when the pollution level is generally considered highest in the country. The area picked for taking all these records was the north-western part of Lombardy in Italy which has approximately 547,000 population.

The first author and research team leader, Roberto Bergamaschi says, “It is well recognized that immune diseases such as MS are associated with multiple factors, both genetic and environmental. Some environmental factors, such as vitamin D levels and smoking habits, have been extensively studied, yet few studies have focused on air pollutants. We believe that air pollution interacts through several mechanisms in the development of MS and the results of this study strengthen that hypothesis.”

The term particulate matter or PM means the number of particles in the air which could cause pollution. There are two types of particulate matters, based on their size, one is called PM10 which shares a diameter of up to 10 micrometers and the other is called PM2.5 which includes particles up to the size of 2.5 micrometers.

PM10 and PM2.5, both are significantly important because both of these are involved in causing pollution. This pollution leads to a number of health problems such as breathing difficulties, heart diseases, lungs and kidney disease, and even cancer.

The World Health Organisation reports nearly 4.2 million annual deaths caused by air pollution all around the world. Somehow this risk is higher in areas that have intense air pollution problems especially the urban areas. Coming back to the original study where people living in urban areas are at a higher risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), there are chances that air pollution has some role to play in it.

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the reports from three different areas were compared with each other, on the basis of urbanization. Out of these three, two areas had a high level of air pollution, as per European Commission standards. It suggests that environmental factors, particularly air pollution could significantly increase the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) are growing every year and currently, the number of multiple sclerosis cases has reached 700,000 in Europe alone. It affects people of all age groups but somehow, young to middle age people are most likely to be affected by it. as compared to men, multiple sclerosis is more common in women, which has no such explanation. It commonly shows up as tiredness, fatigue, the problem in walking, pain in muscles, and numbness.