Published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, the research found that of the nearly 78,000 pregnant women who enrolled in the study from 1999 to 2018, and had their health monitored until the end of 2018, some 14,477 were exposed to childhood abuse.
The results revealed that during the monitoring period around 300 women were diagnosed with MS – nearly one in four of whom said they had been abused as children compared with around one in five of those who didn’t develop MS. The figures suggest that sexual and emotional abuse in childhood were both associated with an increased risk of developing MS. The risk of MS was further increased if exposed to two or three abuse categories.
The researchers suggest that childhood abuse can disrupt brain and glandular signalling. They concluded: ‘Better understanding of the risk factors and timing of risk exposures may open doors for prevention and give further insight to disease mechanisms.’
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