A recent study spotlights risk factors for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and indicates a similarity between the condition and possible or confirmed risk factors for multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers at the Buffalo, NY-based University of Buffalo (UB), report that they investigated potential links between CCSVI and demographic, clinical, and environmental risk factors in study participants who did not have the disease.

Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, FAAN, professor of neurology at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, led the study. According to Zivadinov, the results of the study suggested that, “Risk factors for CCSVI in this group of volunteers are remarkably similar to those of possible or confirmed importance to MS, but we do not yet understand the whole story,” Zivadinov explains.

According to researchers, the study encompassed 252 participants. The study indicated that the risk factors for CCSVI occurred in participants who had a history of mononucleosis (infected with Epstein-Barr virus), participants with irritable bowel syndrome, and individuals who smoked or had a history of smoking. CCSVI shares these three risk factors with MS.

Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, second author of the study, professor at UB, reiterates this, saying all three are confirmed risk factors for MS. The study goes on to explain that those with CCSVI were 2.7 times more likely those than without the condition to have infectious mononucleosis, 3.9 times more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome, and 1.98 times more likely to have a history of smoking. 

Zivadinov highlights the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus and its known link to an increased risk for MS. “We also know that having mononucleosis when you are young increases the MS risk several-fold. So our finding that Epstein-Barr virus is also correlated with CCSVI is a novel finding that must be explored in future studies,” Zivadinov says.

The researchers emphasize that the study was preliminary and articulated the need for further studies to confirm its findings.

Source: University of Buffalo