It has long been known that stress increases the risk of MS and of developing relapses.
This new population-based case-control study from the Karolinska Institute examined many thousands of people with MS and compared their patterns of shift work while young with people without MS.
They found a 30-60% increased risk of MS for those who undertook shift work at a young age; for those doing significant amounts of shift work before age 20, there was roughly a doubling of risk.
The authors hypothesised that this may be due to sleep disruption causing changes in melatonin secretion and a shift towards a pro-inflammatory state.
While we can't avoid stress in our lives, it is useful to be aware of this increased risk when our relatives choose their early employment.