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Intestinal bacteria may trigger multiple sclerosis

Physicians have not identified the cause of multiple sclerosis. Theses include an individual's genetics, environment, and possibly a virus. In such an environment, all types of theories can be thrown up and become the basis for litigation, not unlike what happened with mercury preservatives in various innoculations.

A study with mice has indicated that normal intestinal bacteria may be the trigger for this immune disorder. With MS, the immune system attacks the brain, stripping away the myelin sheath from nerve cells, which in turn causes inflammation that leads to the disease.

Researchers noted that mice genetically engineered to develop multiple sclerosis-like symptoms do not get the disease when raised without any bacteria in their guts. But about 80% of the germ-free mice that were then colonized with intestinal bacteria quickly developed the disease. None of the germ-free mice developed the disease.

The researchers noted that the result is not a total surprise since previous reports had indicated that gut bacteria might be involved in such autoimmune disorders such as juvenile diabetes and arthritis. Intestinal bacteria help the immune system mature properly and interact with the immune system all the time. Thus, the researchers believe a faulty immune response triggers the problem. However, it is unclear at present what is not functioning properly, and also which of the multitude of bacteria may be causing the reaction.

The report can be found at

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