Health Evaluation Allostatic Load Multiple Sclerosis (HEAL-MS)

Brief description of study

The role of childhood adversity has yet to be examined in pediatric-onset MS, despite data demonstrating that childhood adversity has been linked to earlier age of onset in MS1, disease progression, and poorer health outcomes in medical disorders including other autoimmune diseases. Adversity that prompts the recurrent and/or chronic experience of an acute stressor disrupts system-wide processes known as allostatic mechanisms. The multiple biomarker allostatic load (AL), the process through which chronic or recurrent exposure to stress induces cascading changes in the body’s stress-regulating mechanisms, has been developed to measure this disruption. We believe childhood adversity would be associated with increased AL, which is critical to the timing of MS onset. The evidence gap addressed by this study is in identifying biomarkers through which personal and geographic adversity/stress during childhood lead to MS onset early in life (i.e. before age 18 years).

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