A link between repeated head trauma in adolescence and the development of multiple sclerosis has been reported in a new study in a neurology journal.
In the analysis of 7292 patients from Sweden with multiple sclerosis who were each matched with 10 people without the condition, one diagnosed concussion in adolescence was associated with a 22% increased likelihood of developing multiple sclerosis. More than one concussion was associated with a greater than twofold increased likelihood.
The study has been published in the Annals of Neurology. A link was noted between head trauma in adolescence, particularly if repeated, with a raised risk of later developing multiple sclerosis. The link may be due to the initiation of an autoimmune process in the central nervous system.
“This is yet another reason to protect adolescents from head injury, particularly where they are at risk of repeated trauma, including from sports-related injuries,” said Professor Scott Montgomery, lead author of the study.
No notable association with multiple sclerosis was observed for concussion in childhood, or broken limb bones in childhood and adolescence.
The national Swedish Patient (hospital diagnoses) and Multiple Sclerosis registers were used to identify all MS diagnoses up to 2012 among people born from 1964, when the Patient Register was established. The 7292 patients with multiple sclerosis were matched individually with 10 people without MS by sex, year of birth, age/vital status at multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and region of residence, resulting in a study population of 80,212. Diagnoses of concussion and control diagnoses of broken limb bones were identified using the Patient Register from birth to age 10 years or from ages 11 to 20 years. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine associations with multiple sclerosis.
Concussion in adolescence and risk of multiple sclerosis. Scott Montgomery BSc PhD, Ayako Hiyoshi PhD, Sarah Burkill MSc, Lars Alfredsson MD PhD, Shahram Bahmanyar MD PhD, Tomas Olsson MD PhD.