Tuesday, 3 March 2015

X rays and MS

Motamed MR, Fereshtehnejad SM, Abbasi M, Sanei M, Abbaslou M, Meysami S. X-ray radiation and the risk of multiple sclerosis: Do the site and dose of exposure matter? Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2014 Dec 9;28:145. eCollection 2014.

BACKGROUND:The sporadic cases of radiation-activated multiple sclerosis (MS) has been previously described, with a few studies focused on the relationship between radiation and the risk of MS. The aim of our study was to evaluate the association between history of X-ray radiation and MS.
METHODS:This case-control study was conducted on 150 individuals including 65 MS patients and 85 age- and sex-matched healthy controls enrolled using non-probability convenient sampling. Any history of previous Xray radiation consisted of job-related X-ray exposure, radiotherapy, radiographic evaluations including chest Xray, lumbosacral X-ray, skull X-ray, paranasal sinuses (PNS) X-ray, gastrointestinal (GI) series, foot X-ray and brain CT scanning were recorded and compared between two groups. Statistical analysis was performed using independent t test, Chi square and receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve methods through SPSS software.
RESULTS: History of both diagnostic [OR=3.06 (95% CI: 1.32-7.06)] and therapeutic [OR=7.54 (95% CI: 1.5935.76) X-ray radiations were significantly higher among MS group. Mean number of skull X-rays [0.4 (SD=0.6) vs. 0.1 (SD=0.3), p=0.004] and brain CT scanning [0.9 (SD=0.8) vs. 0.5 (SD=0.7), p=0.005] was higher in MS group as well as mean of the cumulative X-ray radiation dosage [1.84 (SD=1.70) mSv vs. 1.11 (SD=1.54) mSv; p=0.008].
CONCLUSION: Our study was one of the first to show higher history of X-ray radiation in patients with MS compared to healthy controls. A possible association was also found between the dose and the site exposed to X-ray radiation and risk of developing MS.

One MSer recently asked is having radiation to the neck could influence MS lesions and they may be interested in this report that suggests that X ray may be risk factor for developing MS. again most of you will not have has an x-ray notably an skull X-ray.wonder


  1. Hi would it not be more likely that the radiation has caused damage/inflammation to myelin sheath which in turn then leads to neuro degeneration. This would look like MS. Rather than the radiation actually causing the immune system to attack the myelin.

    I had radiation in 1990 in the neck region for hodgkins lymphoma. 6 month later had l'hermittes. MRI showed no inflammation and LP was clear. No other problems until 2008 and attack of numbness and the slow development of foot drop. MS was iniatlly suspected but after negative LP and the only dodgy area on MRI was cervical cord. Told radiation damage Not MS so no DMDs offered. I do worry about this DX all the time incase I is MS and DMDs may help me. My LP was again normal.

    I think there needs to be a concrete test for MS otherwise all these theories about radiation causing MS can cloud the water !

  2. It is more likely that the people went to their doctors with more none specific symptoms and so were X-rayed more. The dose rate from an X-ray is very different to radiation used to treat cancer.

  3. "...not have has an x-ray notably an skull X-ray.wonder" You need a proofreader!

    I wonder: If someone did a study to look at correlation between paranormal experiences and MS, or the use of bleach in the home and MS, or eating cornflakes - would they find something?

  4. I keep getting the feeling that several different things can start off the 'cascade of inflammation' that is MS.

  5. A chest x-ray is the equivalent to 3 days of environmental background radiation - in other words, it's an extremely low x-ray dose examination. Although higher dose, the other x-ray examinations and even the CTs are very low dose in comparison with radiotherapy. People with MS will also often get CT scans of their brains if they present with acute neurological problem whilst waiting for an MR. I know from your site that they are also likely to see their doctor much more often in the time leading up to diagnosis than others and any visit to a doctor increases the chances of someone getting an x-ray or scan.

    Radiation injury to the brain following whole brain radiotherapy isn't uncommon and causes demyelination amongst other types of injury. But it causes generalised injury within the radiation field, and generally doesn't cause focal lesions (unless there is radiation necrosis). My understanding is that radiotherapy for tumours is more injurious to the brain of those who already have MS, however. by the time someone requires whole brain radiotherapy, the type of tumour they are most likely to have will be a much more pressing concern than any background MS, given that the tumour is likely to be their life-limiting diagnosis.


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