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Monday, October 3, 2016

MS More Frequent Among Females Exposed to High Levels of Copper, Study Shows


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Exposure to heavy metals and being female are associated with a higher incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study conducted by Maria Cristina Monti and colleagues from two Italian universities.
Several studies had already reported that MS is triggered by a combination of genetic susceptibility and exposure to environmental factors.
For the recent study, researchers analyzed the possible association between the incidence of MS and environmental factors like exposure to heavy metals, urbanization, and UV exposure on the people of Sardinia, Italy. They took into account the high incidence of MS in the region and that the area economy had been formerly based on the exploitation of different metals — many mining landfills had been created.
The team collected geochemical samples containing six heavy metals (cobalt, chromium, copper, nickel, lead and zinc), and proxy data regarding of UV exposure (percentage of the municipal areas exposed to the south) and urbanization (percentage of urban area included in the municipal area), revealed by geographic information system (GIS) processing. Gender, age, municipality of residence, relative concentrations (in parts per million), UV exposure, and percentage of urbanization were collected on each person in the study.
Results indicated an association between copper levels and gender with MS distribution, whereas UV exposure and urbanization showed no significant association with MS distribution. When copper concentration was increased (by 50 ppm), the incidence of MS was nearly three times higher.

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