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Persons with multiple sclerosis who smoked for a little as six months during their lifetime had more destruction of brain tissue and more brain atrophy than MS patients who never smoked, a study by neuroimaging specialists at the University at Buffalo has shown.

“Cigarette smoking is one of the most compelling environmental risk factors linked to the development and worsening of MS,”

Results showed that smokers with MS had a greater breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, had nearly 17 percent more brain lesions – patches of inflammation in the sheath surrounding the nerve fibers that impair their function – than nonsmokers with MS, and also had less brain volume. Smoking also was associated with increased physical disability, as measured by the EDSS score.

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