The association between intestinal parasites and multiple sclerosis: A pilot study of cases and controls


Principal Investigator:
Alberto Ascherio, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition


Dates of Research:
June 1, 2008 — November 30, 2011


This study examines the possible protective role of intestinal parasitic infection in multiple sclerosis, and to determine whether antibodies against the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) are related to risk in Mexico City. The goal of this study is to determine whether current or past infection with intestinal parasites confers protection against MS or has beneficial effect on the course of MS. For this purpose, we will conduct a case-control study using incident cases of MS and health controls matched by age, gender, and area of residence. Mexico is an ideal study location because although infections with intestinal parasites are declining, they are still common among its residents. Additionally, MS which was once considered a rare disease, has been on the rise since the 1970’s and is now estimated to be the second most common reason for admission to neurology wards. Most importantly, investigators from the Mexican National Institute of Public Health have had extensive experience in conducting epidemiological studies and there is a long history of collaborating between this Institute and our department.