WEEKLY UPDATE: October 6, 2019
SUMMARY: Identification of 233 novel variants associated with multiple sclerosis and the body’s immune response system.
DESCRIPTION: Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that leads to degeneration of the central nervous system. It’s characterized by damage to the nerves that can lead to problems with vision, movement, and speech. This study analyzed the genetic data of 115,803 individuals of European ancestry and discovered 233 variants that appear to correlate with a risk of developing multiple sclerosis. These variants help explain ~48% of the heritability of multiple sclerosis. Many of these variants are located near genes that are expressed in the brain and play a role in antigen recognition by the immune system. To date, this is the largest genome-wide association analysis of multiple sclerosis and it explains almost half of the genetic contribution to the disease risk.
DID YOU KNOW? Though multiple sclerosis cannot be cured, doctors recommend lowering inflammation levels by maintaining a healthy diet (e.g. mediterranean diet rich in fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and olive oil) and exercising regularly. [SOURCE]