Research: MOHR and PELLETIER,

Listed in Issue 129

Abstract

MOHR and PELLETIER, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA, have reviewed (107 references) the effects of stressful life events on people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Background

Methodology

Results

Abstract: It has been found that stressful life events are associated with exacerbation and the subsequent development of brain lesions in patients with MS. The development of an MS exacerbation occurs over a period of many months and involves many different biological processes that change over time. Likewise, the experience of stress also occurs over time, with an onset, a shift from acute to chronic in some cases, and resolution. Each of these phases is associated with unique biological features. Thus, the impact of stress on MS exacerbation may depend on the time-courses of stress and MS exacerbation, and when the two time-courses coincide. This paper presents a temporal model, along with three different temporal relationships and associated mechanisms by which stress may impact on MS exacerbation. These include the onset of a stressor, which may be mediated by mast cell activation, the point that a stressor begins to become chronic, which may be mediated by cortisol resistance in immune cells, and the resolution of the stressor, which may be mediated by a drop in cortisol. These three hypotheses are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Conclusion

References

Mohr DC, Pelletier D. A temporal framework for understanding the effects of stressful life events on inflammation in patients with multiple sclerosis. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity 20 (1): 27-36, Jan 2006.

Comment

Our understanding of conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis lags behind that of many other illnesses. Due to the progressive and degenerative nature of MS and its devastating impact upon patients and their family, any progress is to embraced.

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