New research is showing a possible link between multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects 400,000 Americans, and obesity in adolescence. Using data from the Nurses' Health Study, a decades-old study of 238,000 women, Harvard researchers found that women who were obese at age 18 were twice as likely to develop MS than women who were a healthier weight at that age. Explains BBC News:
The researchers suggest fatty tissue produces substances that affect the immune system, which may also provide a link with the chances of developing MS.
Interestingly, the researchers found no link between disease risk and childhood or adulthood obesity. According to the study author:
"There's a lot of research supporting the idea that adolescence may be an important time for development of disease, so what we have found is consistent with that."
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