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Hepatitis B Vaccine May Be Linked to MS

Findings of Threefold Increased Risk Contradict Most Previous Research

Most With MS Weren't Vaccinated continued...

"One must consider whether this selection process, which was deemed necessary to properly perform the study, might have led to some unrecognized bias," Cross wrote in an editorial she co-authored.

It makes little sense, she says, that the hepatitis B vaccine causes MS when there is no evidence linking the virus to the disease.

"The vaccine is just a peptide (a small protein) of the virus, so it stands to reason that if there is a link between the vaccine and MS there would also be a link between hepatitis B virus infection and MS," she tells WebMD.

She also pointed out that more than 90% of the multiple sclerosis patients in the database had not been vaccinated against hepatitis B.

The hepatitis B vaccine is now routinely given to infants in the U.S. as a series of shots, and CDC spokesman Eric Mast, MD, MPH, noted that there is no evidence linking the vaccine to MS or any other neurological disease in children.

Mast, who is acting director of the division of viral hepatitis, tells WebMD that even with the addition of the newest study, the clinical evidence does not support a link between the hepatitis B vaccine and MS.

"This has certainly been on our radar screen, and we need to continue to look at it," he says. "But the preponderance of evidence suggests no association."

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