risk

Is MS Hereditary?

Vicki Health Guide March 16, 2011
  • Like many people when first diagnosed with MS, I asked the question, “Will my children get MS?” I was told no. That was the late 80s, however, when there was a general belief that MS is not genetic or hereditary. There have been exciting breakthroughs since then. The International MS...

17 Comments
  • Vicki
    Health Guide
    Mar. 16, 2011

    I know I used quite a few links, but if this topic interests you, the links point to good information. Lisa Emrich responded to a question concerning genetics.I thought this might help.

     

    Conducting a search in MS Central, I found the following links to other sources within several different comments:
    http://neurology.ucsf.edu/msdb/
    http://www.mscare.org/cmsc/images/pdf/GeneticsAndMS.pdf...

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    I know I used quite a few links, but if this topic interests you, the links point to good information. Lisa Emrich responded to a question concerning genetics.I thought this might help.

     

    Conducting a search in MS Central, I found the following links to other sources within several different comments:
    http://neurology.ucsf.edu/msdb/
    http://www.mscare.org/cmsc/images/pdf/GeneticsAndMS.pdf (from 2005)

    • Lisa Emrich
      Health Guide
      Apr. 09, 2011

      This information is relevant to the discussion of having children.  A recent systematic review of studies has officially offered evidence-based information regarding pregnancy and MS.

       

      "What can we really tell women with multiple sclerosis regarding pregnancy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature"

       

      Folks might find this information...

      RHMLucky777

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      This information is relevant to the discussion of having children.  A recent systematic review of studies has officially offered evidence-based information regarding pregnancy and MS.

       

      "What can we really tell women with multiple sclerosis regarding pregnancy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature"

       

      Folks might find this information comforting to know for certain. There is basically no increased risk to making the MS worse by having children.

       

      Main results:  Twenty-two papers reporting on 13,144 women with MS and their pregnancies were analysed. A significant decrease in relapse rate was observed during pregnancy, followed by a significant increase after delivery. Miscarriages, low birthweight, prematurity, neonatal death and malformations were assessed among these women and their offspring. There seems to be a regional influence on the rates of caesarean sections and abortions among women with MS. Neonatal death and malformation rates did not seem to be particularly high.

       

  • Diana Blues
    May. 26, 2011

    It is really sad to know that there is no permanent cure of this disease but the breakthroughs in other branches of medicine like gene therapy, etc. have proved to be beneficial for the patients. I am glad to come across this blog and can help my friends and family with better information. I also read about Multiple Sclerosis which is also a neurological disorder...

    RHMLucky777

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    It is really sad to know that there is no permanent cure of this disease but the breakthroughs in other branches of medicine like gene therapy, etc. have proved to be beneficial for the patients. I am glad to come across this blog and can help my friends and family with better information. I also read about Multiple Sclerosis which is also a neurological disorder and is very devastating. Its great that now NGOs/hospitals/non-profit organizations are showing interest in building awareness about this disease. I wish same can b done for Parkinson's. I read this article and I think it is worth sharing. http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/apollo-hospitals-marks-world-multiple-sclerosis-day

    • Vicki
      Health Guide
      Jun. 12, 2011

      Hi Diana Blues,

      Thank you for the article. It is exciting to see organizations observing World MS Day.

       

      My father had Parkinson's so my ears perk up when I hear a reference to see if it's something new. Lately, it often is.  I think Michael J. Fox has done a world of good for awareness.

       

      As far as generics, I'll tell you what I remember. Both...

      RHMLucky777

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      Hi Diana Blues,

      Thank you for the article. It is exciting to see organizations observing World MS Day.

       

      My father had Parkinson's so my ears perk up when I hear a reference to see if it's something new. Lately, it often is.  I think Michael J. Fox has done a world of good for awareness.

       

      As far as generics, I'll tell you what I remember. Both MS and PD are probably affected by genetics, immunological and environmental factors.

       

      Where MS has a risk of 1% to 3% when a parent or sibling has MS to develop it, too. If a twin has MS, chances of the other twin developing it, too, rises to 4%. Identical twins have a much higher risk, but this is such s small portion of the entire popularion.

       

      The risk of developing Parkinsons when a member of the nuclear family has it is 5% or less. That is generally more than MS, however, it is still such a small chance. It should not cause hesitation to have children, but if a family member has it already, just be aware of possible symptoms in others.

       

      Thank you for your comment. I hope we'll see you here again.

  • carolyn
    Apr. 07, 2011

    Twenty four years ago my sister was diagnosed with MS at the age of 31 years. I remember very distinctly a comment she made to me "DON'T WORRY, IT'S NOT CATCHING!" Up until that point, she was the only person on either side of our family, to our knowledge, that had ever experienced this horrendous disease.

     

    Through the years I never even gave it a worry...

    RHMLucky777

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    Twenty four years ago my sister was diagnosed with MS at the age of 31 years. I remember very distinctly a comment she made to me "DON'T WORRY, IT'S NOT CATCHING!" Up until that point, she was the only person on either side of our family, to our knowledge, that had ever experienced this horrendous disease.

     

    Through the years I never even gave it a worry whether I would "catch it" or end up with MS. I was extremely active - mountain climbing, hiking, snow skiing, water skiing, aerobics, etc. Around my 40's I began experiencing horrible what I thought were sinus headaches. Later I found them to be migraines and they were awful and often. And horrible fatigue...it got to where it was all I could do to make my 8 hour job and get home and nothing else. The problem was that I had about a 90 minute commute each way, I was the manager and my marriage was beginning to crumble.

     

    By 2001 my 31yr marriage was over and my travel career was over due to 9/11. I had made a move from somewhere I had lived for over 16 years back to the city where my parents and sister live to have support. Within a year I married a friend I had known for over 40 years.  We both love to travel and made plans to begin traveling together. Within 3 years of marriage, I woke one morning numb from the waist down on my left side and my left foot wouldn't comply (drop foot). After a year of every test and every diagnosis because I was TOO OLD to have MS at the age of 57. Optic Neuritis struck and took the sight in my left eye and about 60% in my right eye.....BINGO....we had our diagnosis MS!!!  Within about 8 months, my sight returned in my right eye.

     

    Since then, I have a second cousin on my mother's side of the family who has been diagnosed with MS - age 26. She just gave birth to her first child. She is doing well at this point in her MS.

     

    I have an orthopedist who was telling me of a patient he has and the family has 5 daughters and everyone of them has MS.

    I have no doubt that MS is hereditary!! My opinion! Thank you for listening.

    Best wishes, Carolyn

    • Cathy
      Health Guide
      Apr. 07, 2011

      Carolyn,

       

      Thank you so much for sharing your poignant and long journey with us.  You sure handled a lot of illness, stress, and changes in your life for so many years before being handed a diagnosis.  It must have taken a lot out of you to get through all of it, and I wish for you many more steps toward wellness as you move forward.  How...

      RHMLucky777

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      Carolyn,

       

      Thank you so much for sharing your poignant and long journey with us.  You sure handled a lot of illness, stress, and changes in your life for so many years before being handed a diagnosis.  It must have taken a lot out of you to get through all of it, and I wish for you many more steps toward wellness as you move forward.  How difficult our journeys are.  Varied as they are, MS seems to bring us together as well, in an ironic twist, eh?  We didn't ask to be here, but while we're here together we are "friending" each other and, together, we will hold each other up through good times and bad.  I am so very glad to meet you here on HealthCentral and hope that your journey gets a little easier.  Please keep us posted!

       

      Best in healthCool,

      Cathy

    • Vicki
      Health Guide
      Jun. 12, 2011

      Hi carolyn,

      First, you are never too old (I thought that, too) or young.

       

      When first diagnosed with MS, so many people came up to me and said they knew someone who has MS, too. I didn't know anyone, so I guess it had to be me. Now I know lots of people.

       

      I am sorry your cousin was diagnosed right after giving birth. There are quite a few people...

      RHMLucky777

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      Hi carolyn,

      First, you are never too old (I thought that, too) or young.

       

      When first diagnosed with MS, so many people came up to me and said they knew someone who has MS, too. I didn't know anyone, so I guess it had to be me. Now I know lots of people.

       

      I am sorry your cousin was diagnosed right after giving birth. There are quite a few people who have the same experience. I admire these young mothers with young children, but they are usually strong enough to handle young ones along with their newly diagnosed MS. I wish your cousin strength. In addition, women often develop MS around the same time they experience menopause. Ugh. Fatigue, fatigue, fatigue.

       

      Anyway, thanks for the comment. Look around this site - there are lots of good people. I also hope you come back sometime. See you soon.

  • Amy Gurowitz
    Health Guide
    Mar. 28, 2011

     

    Hello Vicki, Diane and Cathy,

    It is so good to read about these shared emotions. I remember when I went to visit my neurologist to find out the concerns we should have in mind as we make baby plans. When I asked him (my neuro) the first thing he said was "well, the likelihood of passing down...." I interrupted him and said "I'm having a baby no mater...

    RHMLucky777

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    Hello Vicki, Diane and Cathy,

    It is so good to read about these shared emotions. I remember when I went to visit my neurologist to find out the concerns we should have in mind as we make baby plans. When I asked him (my neuro) the first thing he said was "well, the likelihood of passing down...." I interrupted him and said "I'm having a baby no mater what. I'm not going to worry about what ifs."(At least not those specific what ifs!)  And my pregnancy was awesome, and my delivery was smooth and quick (of course painful too!) and though I coped with post-partem depression and the unfortunate timing of 9-11 sixteen days later, it was life changing in every single was. Of course I'm preaching to the choir here!  

    So now the fears are a buzzing sound track below everything that is. And there has been more than one moment that Madeline will talk about a feeling that may remotely resemble an MS symptom and I lose it. (using my inside voice of course; she has no idea!) Whenever I read about kids of PWMS getting diagnosed, or about the prominence of pediatric MS, I hit quit and look for a youtube distraction. Luckily I saw your response Diane, and new reading this would make me feel better. And I read it aloud to my husband. We agreed that the odds are definitely in our favor. 

    Thanks for calling our attention to this Vicki, Now how about a group hug!!

    xo Amy

     

    • Merely Me
      Health Guide
      Apr. 07, 2011

      Hey Amy!

       

      Just had to say...thanks for the youtube distraction....I can use all the distraction I can get.

       

      I feel like I have enough already in my gene pool...a mother with schizophrenia...me with MS and a son with autism...what next?

       

      I guess we could worry ourselves to death over the what ifs...but then we wouldn't have time for living...

      RHMLucky777

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      Hey Amy!

       

      Just had to say...thanks for the youtube distraction....I can use all the distraction I can get.

       

      I feel like I have enough already in my gene pool...a mother with schizophrenia...me with MS and a son with autism...what next?

       

      I guess we could worry ourselves to death over the what ifs...but then we wouldn't have time for living I suppose. 

       

      Good to see you...feels like the old days when we were just regular bloggers.  I love to pop over to see how you and Vicki are doing.  You are a busy gal with all that you are doing to help people with MS...remember to take time for yourself too.  Keep on keeping on!

    • Cathy
      Health Guide
      Apr. 07, 2011

      I'd love to be a part of your get-together; can I invite myself to this friendship/blogger get together?  Sounds like tons of fun! 

       

       

    • Merely Me
      Health Guide
      Apr. 07, 2011

      Absolutely!  Smile

       

      I used to write for this site...many moons ago.  It is very nice to meet other people who understand what you are going through. 

       

      Nice to meet you Cathy.

  • Merely Me
    Health Guide
    Mar. 18, 2011

    Okay so...from what you have researched...it seems that the incidence is relatively low for the children to also have MS if the parent has it?  I am glad that you did write about this as it worries me.  One of my co-workers from years ago told me that her husband has primary progressive MS and that her son has MS too...but the Relapsing-Remitting...

    RHMLucky777

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    Okay so...from what you have researched...it seems that the incidence is relatively low for the children to also have MS if the parent has it?  I am glad that you did write about this as it worries me.  One of my co-workers from years ago told me that her husband has primary progressive MS and that her son has MS too...but the Relapsing-Remitting kind.  It did scare me some.  She told me it was like the odds of winning the lottery and why didn't she win the lottery instead of having two family members who have MS. 

     

    I don't know any family members who have MS so I may be the first in some time.  Lucky me!  I hope someday they do figure this out and what genetic and  environmental factors contribute to developing this disease.

     

    Thank you so much for writing about this.  I do feel a bit better about things now.

    • Cathy
      Health Guide
      Mar. 18, 2011

      Before we decided to start a family (my son is now 18) I spoke to some drs. who were well versed in genetics and MS.  Now I do hear of cases of children being diagnosed with MS after one of their parents has it.  I did fundraising for many years fo my non-profit MS center.  The woman who ran the fundraisers was healthy and vibrant.  She...

      RHMLucky777

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      Before we decided to start a family (my son is now 18) I spoke to some drs. who were well versed in genetics and MS.  Now I do hear of cases of children being diagnosed with MS after one of their parents has it.  I did fundraising for many years fo my non-profit MS center.  The woman who ran the fundraisers was healthy and vibrant.  She had a brother who had (as they termed it at the time) chronic progressive MS.  Her brother passed away from complications from it.  A few years after his death, she was diagnosed with MS!  Now she has trouble walking, is still volunteering for the center as much as she can, and has a wonderful attitude about it.  Can you imagine how her mother, at 90 years old, must feel?  She survived the Holocaust, thrived with her husband in the U.S. and now has 2 children diagnosed with MS.  Sorry to be such a "downer" but that story sticks with me.  I also worry, like Merely Me, about the advice I had received about genetics and MS and hope that the drs. I consulted with were correct.  Let's pray for that.....Thank you.

    • Vicki
      Health Guide
      Mar. 19, 2011

      Cathy, When you and I were diagnosed a different lifetime ago, there was no concern that MS is hereditary. I'm sorry, Merely Me, I don't remember how long ago you were given the news.


      However, here's the thing. As you say, Cathy, there is the occassional mother who has one or more than one MSer. Now remember, for siblins, the risk is 1% to 3%. That is ten...

      RHMLucky777

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      Cathy, When you and I were diagnosed a different lifetime ago, there was no concern that MS is hereditary. I'm sorry, Merely Me, I don't remember how long ago you were given the news.


      However, here's the thing. As you say, Cathy, there is the occassional mother who has one or more than one MSer. Now remember, for siblins, the risk is 1% to 3%. That is ten to thirty times more than the general population. I once read about a family with five sisters who have MS. I could not find that story for this article.


      There are stories about families - for example, David Madison whose mother had MS - but we have to believe there are more families with only one MSer. Just because you have inherited the genes is no guarantee that you will develop MS. It seems more likely that you will not. We can find stories of families with multiple MSers, but we can find more stories with only one.


      I did not find anything that said parents and children or siblings all had the same type. I also did not read anything that should make anyone with MS hesitate to have children. We just have to be aware that there is a chance. As you say, Merely Me, a chance with lottery odds.

    • Cathy
      Health Guide
      Mar. 19, 2011

      Vicki and Merely Me,

       

      I agree with Vicki - the odds are you will not pass down MS to your child.  The joys, love and richness of your life with a child far outweigh anything else.  I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without my son.  I didn't mean to scare anyone with my last post; it just reminded me of my friends - the...

      RHMLucky777

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      Vicki and Merely Me,

       

      I agree with Vicki - the odds are you will not pass down MS to your child.  The joys, love and richness of your life with a child far outweigh anything else.  I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without my son.  I didn't mean to scare anyone with my last post; it just reminded me of my friends - the siblings who had/have MS.  Of course, knowledge is power.  Being a parent is the greatest gift I have had in my life (aside from my husband!)

    • noxDO
      Mar. 19, 2011

      Being a parent is such a rewarding experience. I would not concern myself with the hereditary issues.

    • Vicki
      Health Guide
      Jun. 12, 2011

      Oh noxDO, I could not agree more.