H. pylori and Multiple sclerosis
I am curious to know if there has been research on a
connection with H. pylori and multiple sclerosis?.
I read something about H. pylori can have an effect on the immune system.
H. pylori is a bacterium that colonizes the stomach.
Up to 80% of people are infected (depending on age and
country) and infection is life-long, unless treated
with a severe course of antibiotics. Most infections
occur without symptoms. In some cases, gastric ulcers
occur. In even fewer cases, gastric cancer can be the
There are different type of H. pylori bacteria, and
some are recognized to never give rise to ulcers. The
bacteria have evolved to fit the ecological niche of
the human stomach very well, and in doing so they seem
to have adapted so as to minimalize damage to their
host, so that they can survive and multiply
'undisturbed'. Outside the human body they can not
survive long, and cannot multiply.
The human immune system recognizes the bacteria and
tries to remove them, without success. It is therefore
no big surprise that many immunological disorders are
thought to connect somehow to H. pylori infection: the
immune system is constantly at the alert because of
the presence of the bug. However, any study has the
difficulty that so many people are infected: you have
to design your control group carefully to draw the
I checked the literature for you. There are some case
reports of a relation between H. pylori infection and
systemic sclerosis (but not multiple sclerosis),
however there is a need for a large, double-blind
study with proper control groups before we can draw
At present I would say there is no reason for an MS
patient to have his/her H. pylori status checked.
I attach the abstract of a review article on this
subject, with apologies for the jargon.
Best, Trudy Wassenaar
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Update: June 2012