H. pylori may protect against MS?

Researchers from the WA Neuroscience Research Institute, including Nobel Prize winner Professor Barry Marshall who helped to prove the bacterium caused stomach ulcers, have found that it could have protective effects against multiple sclerosis (MS).

The finding bolsters evidence for the hygiene hypothesis, a theory that early life infections are essential to prime the immune system and prevent allergic and autoimmune conditions later in life, the researchers say.

The study — the largesst of its kind — involved some 550 people with MS and 299 healthy controls. Analysis of blood samples revealed that women infected with the bacteria were about 30% less likely to have MS than women not infected. However the association was not seen in men.

What’s more, women with MS who were also H. pylori-seropositive had a lower disability score than seronegative females with MS.

Again this was not the case in men, the authors