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Neuroimmunology of a natural disaster
  1. Satoshi Kuwabara,
  2. Akiyuki Uzawa,
  3. Masahiro Mori
  1. Correspondence to Dr Satoshi Kuwabara, Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan; kuwabara-s{at}

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Exacerbation of immunological diseases following a natural disaster may be prevented by medical intervention

Psychological and physical stress influences the activity of autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition to stressful life events, several studies have established that other socially undesirable circumstances, such as exposure to war are associated with an increased risk for MS relapse. An early epidemiological study was reported from Israel during the Persian Gulf War of 1991, whereby the number of relapses during the war and the following 2 months in 32 patients with MS were exposed to the threat of missile attacks, was significantly lower than expected based on the frequency during the preceding 2 years.1 The findings were somewhat surprising, but perhaps may have reflected the small patient sample.

In contrast, a second study revealed markedly increased MS …

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  • Contributors SK wrote the manuscript. MM and AU revised the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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