Allergies are associated with heightened levels of disease activity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The study assessed the association of a self-reported history of allergic conditions with MS clinical and MRI disease activity in 1,349 patients with MS. Patients were categorised into four allergy groups: environmental, food, drug, and no known allergies. Clinical information on the number of attacks and disease severity as well as radiological variables (presence of gadolinium-enhancing lesions and lesion count), were assessed.
The study found that those with self-reported food allergies had a 1.38-times higher rate for cumulative number of attacks compared with MS patients with no known allergies (NKA) (P=.0062). The difference remained significant in the adjusted analysis, giving a relapse rate ratio of 1.27 (P=.0305).
The food allergy group showed more than twice the likelihood (OR 2.53; P=.0096) of having gadolinium-enhancing lesions on MRI. Those with environmental and drug allergies did not show significant differences when compared with the NKA group.
Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score and MS Severity Score (MSSS) were not affected by any type of allergy.
The authors say research to identify the underlying biology of the association could unveil new therapeutic strategies.