Researchers may have found a possible cause for multiple sclerosis. There is a new theory that friendly bacteria, Porphyromas gingivalis, can trigger an inflammatory process in some people which may trigger MS. Research scientists at the Catholic University of Rome, Italy discovered this organism in mice. The mice had symptoms similar to those of multiple sclerosis in humans.
Similar research has also been going on in the United States at the University of Connecticut Health Center. A harmless bacterium found in the mouth of human beings, Porphyromas gingivalis, is thought to be the culprit that triggers MS. This organism doesn’t normally cross the protective blood brain barrier, but this organism has been found in the brain of people with MS. The theory is that this type of bacteria produces a certain type of lipid called DHC’s which seems to trigger inflammatory responses within the body. It is also believed that other friendly bacteria found in the GI tract and other areas.
More research will be needed to unlock the mystery of MS, because there are many factors believed to attribute to this autoimmune disorder. For quite some time scientists have theorized that a certain type of virus or bacteria could be masquerading as look-alikes for nerve cells. Scientists have developed a hypothesis that the immune system “sees” the microorganism, but mistakenly attacks the body’s own nerve cells, which causes irritation to the myelin sheath. As a result of the autoimmune attack, the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord develop lesions.
The body’s immune system is made up of many different kinds of specialized white blood cells, also known as lymphocytes. There are many varieties of lymphocytes, and each has their own job to do. T-cells are highly specialized type of lymphocytes that go on search and destroy missions. The brain is protected by a blood brain barrier, and normally, bacteria don’t cross the BBB and travel into the brain.
Possible triggers for MS that we know of:
It is now believed that the organism, Porphyromas gingivalis, is at least part of the answer to what triggers multiple sclerosis. This organism isn’t supposed to cross the blood brain barrier, but sometimes it does in some people.
Impaired blood flow to the brain may be another factor. It is believed that chronic cerebro-spinal insufficiency (CCSVI) may be an explanation for, at least part, of what triggers MS. People with MS seem to have CCSVI in common. This condition seems to be a commonality among people living with MS.
One piece of the puzzle may be environment. Location is a factor. People who live between 40 degrees and 60 degrees latitude are more at risk for being stricken with MS. There are somewhere between 350,000 to 500,000 people in the United States living with multiple sclerosis, and every year there are approximately 8,000 people diagnosed with it.
Another factor to consider with MS is the genetic factor. Individuals with no family history of MS have a 1 in 1000 (some sources say 1 in 700) risk of being diagnosed with MS. If you have an aunt, uncle or grandparent, your risk for MS is 1 in 100. If you have a brother or sister with MS, your risk increases to 1 in 40. The risk increases to 1 in 4 if you have an identical twin with MS.
Medical research has come a long way. No one knows all the answers, but due to all the medical research to understand the disease and to develop effective medications and treatment options, the quality of life for individuals has improved greatly over the last decade.