Bergen Multiple Sclerosis Research Group
Environmental factors in MS

New review article: Impact of the environment on multiple sclerosis

Researchers associated with the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Centre for MS Research have recently published a review article on environmental risk factors in multiple sclerosis.

Main content


Epidemiological studies suggest that environmental factors play a significant role in the development of multiple sclerosis. This article presents current knowledge on the impact of the environment on disease risk and disease course.


We have conducted searches in PubMed for «multiple sclerosis» combined with «environment» as well as relevant environmental factors.


It is highly likely that an interaction between genetic and environmental factors determines who will develop multiple sclerosis. Epstein-Barr virus infection, smoking, and low vitamin D levels are the environmental factors that have shown the strongest and most consistent association with development of the disease. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with high disease activity. Other risk factors include obesity and high salt intake.


Although epidemiological studies have identified a number of environmental factors with potential aetiological relevance, and the importance of these is supported by experimental studies, there is still insufficient evidence to establish a causal role for these factors in multiple sclerosis.




Løken-Amsrud, KI, Lossius, A, Torkildsen Ø, Holmøy, T: Miljøets betydning ved multippel sklerose. Tidsskr Nor Legeforen nr. 9, 2015; 135: 856 – 60. Artikkel i pdf. format.pdf