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The World in Medicine
September 21, 2005

Birth Order and MS

JAMA. 2005;294(11):1331. doi:10.1001/jama.294.11.1331-d

Older siblings in a family are not more likely than younger siblings to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), a finding that contradicts earlier reports that suggested a link between early birth-order position and a heightened risk of developing the disease. The new finding does not support the prediction of the “hygiene hypothesis” which postulates that children who are exposed to infections introduced by older siblings are at a reduced risk of developing MS.

The report of the study’s findings, published online on August 22, will appear in print in the October issue of Lancet Neurology.

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