Holz A, Obi N, Ahrens W, Berger K, Bohn B, Brenner H, Fischer B, Fricke J, Führer A, Gastell S, Greiser KH, Harth V, Heise JK, Holleczek B, Keil T, Klett-Tammen CJ, Leitzmann M, Lieb W, Meinke-Franze C, Michels KB, Mikolajczyk R, Nimptsch K, Peters A, Pischon T, Riedel O, Schikowski T, Schipf S, Schmidt B, Schulze MB, Stang A, Hellwig K, Riemann-Lorenz K, Heesen C, Becher H.

Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) represents the most common inflammatory neurological disease causing disability in early adulthood. Childhood and adolescence factors might be of relevance in the development of MS. We aimed to investigate the association between various factors (e.g., prematurity, breastfeeding, daycare attendance, weight history) and MS risk. Methods: Data from the baseline assessment of the German National Cohort (NAKO) were used to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between childhood and adolescence factors and risk of MS. Analyses stratified by sex were conducted. Results: Among a total of 204,273 participants, 858 reported an MS diagnosis. Male sex was associated with a decreased MS risk (HR 0.48; 95% CI 0.41-0.56), while overweight (HR 2.03; 95% CI 1.41-2.94) and obesity (HR 1.89; 95% CI 1.02-3.48) at 18 years of age compared to normal weight were associated with increased MS risk. Having been breastfed for ≤ 4 months was associated with a decreased MS risk in men (HR 0.59; 95% CI 0.40-0.86) compared to no breastfeeding. No association with MS risk was observed for the remaining factors. Conclusions: Apart from overweight and obesity at the age of 18 years, we did not observe considerable associations with MS risk. The proportion of cases that can be explained by childhood and adolescence factors examined in this study was low. Further investigations of the association between the onset of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence and its interaction with physical activity and MS risk seem worthwhile.

BMC Neurol. 2024 Apr 13;24(1):123

Link to Pubmed