March 8, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: Study finds pregnancies may help forestall MS

 

Pregnancy is known to cause a remission in symptoms of multiple sclerosis in women who have MS prior to becoming pregnant. Now a study has found that multiple pregnancies may help prevent MS from ever developing.

The study, published online Wednesday in the journal Neurology, reviewed information on 282 men and women who received a diagnosis of central nervous demyelination. That’s a condition that reflects early symptoms of MS but falls short of an actual MS diagnosis. The researchers compared those people to 542 healthy men and women.

They found that women who have been pregnant two or more times had a reduced risk of developing the disease. Women who had five or more pregnancies had one-twentieth the risk of developing MS compared with women who were never pregnant. There was no effect on men regarding their number of offspring and onset of the disease.

It’s not clear what it is about pregnancy that protects against MS or causes its temporary remission. It’s likely that hormones play a role, and studies are under way looking at estrogen as a treatment for the illness. It’s also possible that immune changes that take place during pregnancy alter symptoms of the disease as well as the risk of developing it.

Groups say Limbaugh losing more sponsors

Los Angeles – The flight of advertisers from “The Rush Limbaugh Show” continued Wednesday, with a total of 45 national and local companies pulling their spots, according to the liberal activist groups angered by the talk radio host for calling a Georgetown law student a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

But Limbaugh told his audience that the reports of advertiser defections had been greatly exaggerated by his opponents, and that the companies that pulled ads accounted for a small minority of the overall ad inventory on the 600 affiliates that carry his show.

“That’s like losing a couple of french fries in the container when it’s delivered to you at the drive-through,” Limbaugh said. “You don’t even notice it.”

An industry expert at the trade magazine “Talkers” said that the system for buying radio advertising is extremely complex and it would be hard to assess Limbaugh’s ad losses in the short run.

The liberal advocacy group Media Matters said it had recorded a list of 45 sponsors – mostly national, but including a dozen that aired spots on WABC in New York, which the group monitors – that had abandoned Limbaugh by Wednesday.

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