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Being pregnant reduces risk of MS in women
Women's health research published in the journal Neurology has shown that having been pregnant in the past reduces the risk of females developing multiple sclerosis (MS).
A team led by Dr Anne-Louise Ponsonby of Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, analysed information on 824 people between the ages of 18 and 59.
Of this sample, which included both men and women, 282 had been diagnosed with central nervous demyelination, which means they were displaying the first symptoms indicating MS but the presence of the condition could not yet be confirmed.
It was found females who had been pregnant for at least 20 weeks two or more times were at a quarter of the risk of developing such signs of the neurological disease compared with those who had never carried a child for this long.
When women had been pregnant at least five times, this was reduced further to a twentieth of the risk.
"The rate of MS cases has been increasing in women over the last few decades and our research suggests that this may be due to mothers having children later in life and having fewer children than they have in past years," Dr Ponsonby suggested.
Over two million people around the world suffer from the condition, according to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation.
Posted by Paul Robertson
World Congress 2015