Never drinking alcohol raises MS risk

Never drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study has found, especially if you smoke or used to smoke.

Previous studies have found that alcohol decreases the immune system’s activity, and researchers say this may be why there is a connection between consumption of alcohol and a reduced risk for MS, because overactivity of the immune system is the hallmark of the condition.

The researchers say that these results do not, however, support advising people to increase their alcohol intake, because that can have detrimental effects on the condition. But they hope the findings can lead to other ways of preventing MS other than by consuming alcohol.

The team also highlighted other data which found a link between smoking, non-drinking, and a risk of a person developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). MS and RA are both complex inflammatory disorders and the research team said the findings in this study may be helpful in furthering understanding of both conditions.