What Role Does Stress play in Multiple Sclerosis?

Read Transcript

It's a very good question, and people like myself who are very evidence based, let me talk about what we tell patients, it's hard to do a proper study on what stress could do with MS. You'd have to have a population randomized, no stress and stressed. How do you do that, it's impossible. To put this way, the jury is out on this, there is evidence that stress may be adverse for MS and there's evidence to the contrary.

So my attitude is control stress, stress is an important element of life, and even healthy people have lots of stress, so we try to find ways to control it. Exercise is an excellent way, to come back to my favorite topic. Exercise and MS controls many symptom including stress. Stress management, there's a very nice study done in Switzerland recently looking at thinking positively and they did it in a controlled way, and it did show that this made an impact on the quality of life of the persons who were involved in the trial, those who were in the treatment group versus those who just got lectures on healthy living style.

But it only worked for as long as you're involved in trial, after six months the effect disappears. So, yes, there's a lot of reasons to assume that you can improve quality of life with stress management, I don't think there's evidence to say they will improve the probation of the disease, but a stressed person will certainly feel worse and progressed versus somebody who is optimistic.