"Begging the Question"-Does Toxocara Infection/Exposure Associate with Multiple Sclerosis-Risk?
AuthorTaghipour, A; Rostami, A; Esfandyari, S; Aghapour, S; Nicoletti, A; Gasser, RB
University of Melbourne Author/sGasser, Robin
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsTaghipour, A., Rostami, A., Esfandyari, S., Aghapour, S., Nicoletti, A. & Gasser, R. B. (2020). "Begging the Question"-Does Toxocara Infection/Exposure Associate with Multiple Sclerosis-Risk?. PATHOGENS, 9 (11), https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9110938.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696196
Although the cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) is unclear, infectious agents, including some parasitic roundworms (nematodes), have been proposed as possible risk factors or contributors. Here, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published observational studies to evaluate whether there is a possible association between infection with, or exposure to, one or more members of the genus Toxocara (phylum Nematoda; superfamily Ascaridoidea) and MS. We undertook a search of public literature databases to identify relevant studies and then used a random-effects meta-analysis model to generate the pooled odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). This search identified six of a total of 1371 articles that were relevant to the topic; these published studies involved totals of 473 MS patients and 647 control subjects. Anti-Toxocara IgG serum antibodies were detected in 62 MS patients and 37 controls, resulting in respective seroprevalences of 13.1% (95% CI: 8.2-20.3) and 4.8% (95% CI: 2.5-9.2), indicating an association (pooled OR, 3.01; 95% CI: 1.46-6.21). Because of the publication bias identified (six eligible studies), well-designed and -controlled studies are required in the future to rigorously test the hypothesis that Toxocara infection/exposure has an association with MS.
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