Epub: Burns et al. Do positive or negative stressful events predict the development of new brain lesions in people withmultiple sclerosis? Psychol Med. 2013:1-11.
BACKGROUND: Stressful life events have long been suspected to contribute to MS disease activity. The few studies examining the relationship between stressful events and neuroimaging markers have been small and inconsistent. This study examined whether different types of stressful events and perceived stress could predict the development of brain lesions.
RESULTS: Positive stressful events predicted decreased risk for subsequent Gd+ lesions in the control group [odds ratio (OR) 0.53 for each additional positive stressful event, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.30-0.91] and less risk for new or enlarging T2 lesions regardless of group assignment (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.55-0.99). Across groups, major negative stressful events predicted Gd+ lesions (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.18-2.64) and new or enlarging T2 lesions (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.11-2.23) whereas moderate negative stressful events, perceived stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms did not.
CONCLUSIONS: Major negative stressful events predict increased risk for Gd+ and T2 lesions whereas positive stressful events predict decreased risk.