According to a new study stress is not a risk factor in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). The study was published in May 30
issue of Neurology.

The study result was contrary to a previous study which indicated that stressful life is linked to development of multiple sclerosis.

While we've known that stressful life events have been shown to increase the risk of MS episodes, we weren't certain whether these
stressors could actually lead to developing the disease, says author Trond Riise of Norway's University of Bergen in a statement.

Researchers studied two groups of women nurses from the Nurses' Health Study. The first group of 121,700 nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 were followed starting in 1976. The second group of 116,671 nurses between the ages of 25 and 42 were followed from 1989. They were told to report stress at home and work, including physical and sexual abuse in childhood. In the first group, 77 developed MS; in the second, 292 did.

How much stress women reported both at home and work was not linked with their likelihood of having MS.

This rules out stress as a major risk factor for MS. Future research can now focus on repeated and more fine-tuned measures of stress, said Riise, who carried out the research as a visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society about 400,000 people are suffering from in multiple sclerosis in United States. It is more prevalent in Caucasians and three times more common in women. It is also usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.