Sample Research Paper on Multiple Sclerosis


A study conducted on half siblings, adopted twins and families has revealed that multiple sclerosis is an intricate condition whose vulnerability is attributed to the relationship between environmental and genetic factors. Investigations are underway to determine how environmental conditions influence the susceptibility to multiple sclerosis. Some scholars cite the inclination of latitude as one of the environmental factors that cause multiple sclerosis (Alonso and Hernan 132). They allege that individuals who reside in the temperate region are at a higher threat of suffering from multiple sclerosis than those who reside in a subtropical zone. A research conducted on migrants revealed that the possibility of contracting multiple sclerosis is related to the place of residence. An examination of the illness prevalence confirmed that sunlight was a significant environmental factor that triggered the disease. Sun is renowned for producing vitamin D. The study indicates that most patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis have deficient in vitamin D (Ramagopalan et al. 2). A study conducted in the United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden and Denmark showed that many patients who suffered from multiple sclerosis were born during winter. Multiple sclerosis is not transmissible. Nevertheless, study shows that various genetic factors increase the danger of contracting multiple sclerosis. This study will discuss the ecological and hereditary factors that lead to multiple sclerosis.

Genetic Factors 

Scientists allege that hereditary factors predispose individuals to the threat of contracting multiple sclerosis. People who hail from families with individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis are at a danger of contracting the disease (Milo and Kahana 391). Medical professionals allege that various genetic materials expose people to the danger of getting multiple sclerosis. Some professionals contend that certain individuals get multiple sclerosis since they are born with an inherent penchant to react to a particular environmental agent (Willer et al. 120). Presently, there are over 110 genetic materials that expose individuals to the danger of multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, none of the genes has been proved to be a direct source of the illness. Individuals who suffer from multiple sclerosis are found to have a blend of copious of these genetic materials. The fact that family members share a majority of the genes does not imply that they are likely to suffer from multiple sclerosis if the condition exists in the family. Nevertheless, the scientists cannot guarantee that the blend of genes, which make an individual in one generation vulnerable, will not resurface in successive cohorts (Milo and Kahana 393). Most patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis do not bear a family record of the sickness. In spite of the level of multiple sclerosis in families hinting that genetic factors play a significant role, research conducted on identical twins suggests otherwise. Identical twins have comparable genetic composition. Therefore, if multiple sclerosis relies exclusively on genes, one would anticipate that if one of the twins contracts the disease, the other will follow suit. Such a case does not happen (Oksenberg et al. 519). The possibility of contracting multiple sclerosis differs with the degree of affinity relations. For example, dizygotic twins are at a higher chance of contracting multiple sclerosis than their non-twin siblings.

Research shows that, although still small, the danger of contracting multiple sclerosis is high amid individuals who hail from families with people who suffer from the condition (Oksenberg et al. 523). A study conducted in Australia showed that people who came from families with individuals who suffered from multiple sclerosis were vulnerable to contracting the illness. The research found that genetic features contributed to about 54% of the probability of an individual contracting multiple sclerosis. The remaining fraction was credited to ecological conditions.

There is a link amid a person’s month of birth and the vulnerability to multiple sclerosis (Ramagopalan et al. 3). Earlier researches show that seasons of birth influence the possibility of contracting multiple sclerosis. Research shows that individuals born in spring are at a high rate of contracting multiple sclerosis. In winter, pregnant women do not receive adequate sunlight. As a result, they generate a limited quantity of active vitamin D. Investigations conducted in the northern hemisphere showed that cases of multiple sclerosis were high amid individuals born in May (Ramagopalan et al. 4). Conversely, research in the southern hemisphere revealed that instances of multiple sclerosis were high amid individuals born in November. Scientists maintain that there is an association amid the month of birth and environmental factors that cause multiple sclerosis. The impacts of the season of birth are mainly predominant in high-risk regions. These are parts that receive insufficient sunlight. British scholars conducted an investigation to determine the relationship between the period of birth and multiple sclerosis. The researchers carried out numerous tests on blood samples drawn from the umbilical cords of children born in May and November. The blood of children born in May was found to contain a high amount of detrimental immune cells. Moreover, the blood had an inadequate level of vitamin D. The dearth in vitamin D was as a result of insufficient sunlight witnessed in winter.

Environmental Factors

Epidemiological data shows various fascinating features concerning multiple sclerosis. Varied racial groups have noticeably singular predominance of multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is particularly prevalent in northern Europe, Scandinavia, and Scotland. In the United States, multiple sclerosis is widespread amid the whites (Ascherio 4). Other races report few incidences of the illness. Some environmental conditions associated with multiple sclerosis include latitude, vitamin D, cigarette smoke, and Epstein-Barr virus among others. There is an obvious disparity in multiple sclerosis incidences with latitude. In the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, latitudinal slope contributes to the occurrence of multiple sclerosis. In spite of latitude being associated with multiple sclerosis, it does not have a noteworthy autonomous impact (Handel et al. 159). The gradient of the latitude affects the manufacture of vitamin D, which subsequently influences the possibility of an individual contracting multiple sclerosis. The quantity of vitamin D generated depends on contact with Ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. Conversely, the concentration of UVB rays that reach the earth depends on season and latitude gradient.

The study indicates that multiple sclerosis thrives in moderate weather conditions. The commonness of the condition swells as one drifts away from the equator on either hemisphere. The regions close to the equator receive sufficient sunlight. Hence, people who live in areas that are adjacent to the equator are at a low risk of contracting multiple sclerosis (Ascherio 6). On the other hand, areas that are far from equator do not receive adequate sunlight. Consequently, individuals who reside in these parts are at a high possibility of contracting the disease. An individual’s place of residence while young contributes to the danger of contracting multiple sclerosis. The risk changes significantly once a person moves to a different region (Handel et al. 164). If an individual move from a region that is vulnerable to multiple sclerosis to an area that is less susceptible, he/she gets the risk of the new environment. It only happens if an individual migrates before he/she becomes a teenager. It shows that exposure to certain ecological conditions at an early stage in life may augment the possibility of contracting multiple sclerosis.

Another ecological factor that is related to this condition is exposure to cigarette smoke. The smoke comprises various elements like tar, carbon monoxide, and nicotine. These components are known to have negative impacts on tissues, have pro-inflammatory impacts and cause increased apoptosis. In fact, some constituents of cigarette smoke have an impact on the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (Handel et al. 166). Research shows that there is an association amid cigarette smoke and autoimmune sickness that affect individuals with multiple sclerosis. Nicotine from cigarette smoke results in the discharge of inflammatory mediators that cause the onset of multiple sclerosis. Medical professionals maintain that nicotine activates lymphocytes, which filter through the blood-brain barrier. In return, the lymphocytes trigger inflammatory mediators that cause the development of multiple sclerosis. Presently, there is an adequate epidemiological fact that associates cigarette smoke with the vulnerability, onset, and progression of multiple sclerosis. The fact shows that cigarette smoke lead to immunomodulation. Besides, it results in the intoxication of oligodendrocytes and neurons exposing an individual to the risk of contracting multiple sclerosis.

Extensive data shows that Epstein-Barr virus plays a role in the rise of multiple sclerosis. Numerous analyses have reported traces of Epstein-Barr virus infection in the B cells found in the multiple sclerosis brain (Ascherio and Munger 273). Nonetheless, research is in progress to verify these results. Coming into contact with infectious agents like Epstein-Barr virus prompts the lymphoid cells to emit a little heat shock protein. The protein causes failure of immune tolerance. The heat shock protein is a “central myelin antigen in the central nervous system” (Ascherio and Munger 273). Buildup of the protein in oligodendrocytes is evident in preliminary multiple sclerosis abrasions.


A study carried on patients suffering from multiple sclerosis drawn from different geographical regions and who were born in different months showed that some climatic seasons affect the susceptibility of the disease. The study revealed that the disease is prevalent during summer and spring. Temperature affects the symptoms of the health condition. Research indicates that warmer temperature has an effect on the activity of multiple sclerosis (Strange et al. 1110). Individuals born in months that receive high amount of sunlight are vulnerable to multiple sclerosis. Changes in weather patterns result in fluctuations in the generation of vitamin D. Besides, changes in seasons influence the development of the central nervous system. Therefore, a child that is conceived during summer or spring may be at a high risk of contracting multiple sclerosis after birth due to poor development of the central nervous system or immune system (Willer et al. 120). It underlines the rationale why multiple sclerosis is widespread amid individuals born in November and May. Doctors advise mothers to ensure that they receive sufficient sunlight during pregnancy. Children who are born during summer are not in the danger of contracting multiple sclerosis. The children are exposed to ample sunlight.

People who reside near the equator have a considerably reduced risk of multiple sclerosis as compared to individuals who live far from the equator (Willer et al. 120). Contact with Ultraviolet-B radiations reduces the possibility of multiple sclerosis. The sun is the chief supply of Ultraviolet-B radiations. Areas that are near the equator get adequate sunlight. It implies that people who live around the equator are exposed to sufficient Ultraviolet-B radiations. Conversely, as you drift further from the equator, the latitude gradient changes, therefore impacting the concentration of sunlight that strikes the surface of the earth. The areas further from the equator receive insufficient sunlight. People who reside in these areas are not exposed to adequate Ultraviolet-B radiations. Consequently, they are vulnerable to contracting multiple sclerosis. The study indicates that shortage of vitamin D contributes to susceptibility to multiple sclerosis. The sunlight facilitates production of vitamin D. Hence, individuals who live near equator do not suffer from vitamin D deficiency (Trapp and Nave 248). They are not likely to contract multiple sclerosis. In contrast, people who reside far from equator generate a limited amount of vitamin D due to insufficient contact with sunlight. Therefore, they are vulnerable to contracting multiple sclerosis.


Multiple sclerosis is a disease that comes as a result of environmental and genetic conditions. Research shows that environmental features like sunlight, Epstein-Barr virus, and cigarette smoke predispose one to the risk of contracting multiple sclerosis. High exposure to sunlight lowers one’s possibility of getting the disease. Additionally, generation of adequate vitamin D acts as a deterrence to the possibility of suffering from multiple sclerosis. It underlines the rationale most people who live close to the equator do not suffer from the condition. Scientists claim that households with a history of multiple sclerosis are susceptible to contracting the illness. Consequently, it is imperative for such households to take caution, mainly when their children are young.


Works Cited

Alonso, Alvaro and Miguel Hernan. “Temporal Trends in the Incidence of Multiple Sclerosis.” Neurology 71.2 (2008): 129-135. Print.

Ascherio, Alberto and Kassandra Munger. ” Epstein-Barr Virus Infection and Multiple Sclerosis: A Review.” Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology 5.3 (2010): 271-277. Print.

Ascherio, Alberto. “Environmental Factors in Multiple Sclerosis.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 13.2 (2013): 3-9. Print.

Handel, Adam, Gavin Giovannoni, George Ebers and Sreeram Ramagopalan. “Environmental Factors and their Timing in Adult-Onset Multiple Sclerosis.” Nature Reviews Neurology 6.1 (2010): 156-166. Print.

Milo, Ron and Esther Kahana. “Multiple Sclerosis: Geoepidemiology, Genetics and the Environment.” Autoimmunity Reviews 9.5 (2010): 387-394. Print.

Oksenberg, Jorge, Sergio Barazini, Stephen Sawcer and Stephen Hauser. “The Genetics of Multiple Sclerosis: SNPs to Pathways to Pathogenesis.” Nature Reviews Genetics 9.1 (2008): 516-526. Print.

Ramagopalan, Sreeram, Narelle Maugeri, Lahiru Handunnetthi, Matthew Lincoln, Sarah-Michelle Orton, David Dyment, Gabriele Deluca, Blanca Herrera, Michael Chao, Dessa Sadovnick, George Ebers and Julian Knight. “Expression of the Multiple Sclerosis-Associated MHC Class II Allele HLA-DRB1*1501 is Regulated by Vitamin D.” PLoS Genetics 5.2 (2009): 1-5. Print.

Strange, Richard, Sudarshan Ramachandran, Maurice Zeegers, Richard Emes, Roby Abraham, Vythilingam Raveendran, Mike Boggild, Janice Gilford and Clive Hawkins. “The Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score: Associations with MCIR Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Host Response to Ultraviolet Radiation.” Multiple Sclerosis 16.9 (2010): 1109-1116. Print.

Trapp, Bruce and Klaus-Armin Nave. “Multiple Sclerosis: An Immune or Neurodegenerative Disorder?” Annual Review of Neuroscience 31.1 (2008): 247-269. Print.

Willer, Cristen, David Dyment, Dessa Sadovnick, Peter Rothwell, Jock Murray and George Ebers. “Timing of Birth and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis: Population-Based Study.” British Medical Journal 330.1 (2005): 120-124. Print.