A case-control study of dietary salt intake in pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis

Jamie McDonald, Jennifer Graves, Amy Waldman, Timothy Lotze, Teri Schreiner, Anita Belman, Benjamin Greenberg, Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, Gregory Aaen, Jan Mendelt Tillema, Janace Hart, Sabeen Lulu, Jayne Ness, Yolanda Harris, Jennifer Rubin, Meghan Candee, Lauren B. Krupp, Mark Gorman, Leslie Benson, Moses RodriguezTanuja Chitnis, Soe Mar, Lisa F. Barcellos, Barbara Laraia, John Rose, Shelly Roalstad, Timothy Simmons, T. Charles Casper, Emmanuelle Waubant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background High salt intake may be associated with pro-inflammatory changes in the immune response, and increased clinical and MRI activity in adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Objective We sought to determine if dietary salt intake is associated with pediatric-onset MS risk in a multicenter, case-control study. Methods Pediatric-onset CIS/MS cases within four years of onset and controls less than 22 years old recruited from 14 pediatric-MS centers were studied. Dietary sodium intake was assessed using the validated Block Kids Food Screener (NutritionQuest). Sodium intake, excess sodium, and sodium terciles were compared between cases and controls. Logistic regression models were adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index, and socioeconomic status. Results Among 170 cases (mean age=15.2±3.5) and 331 controls (mean age=14.0±3.7), no significant difference in unadjusted mean sodium intake was found between cases (2044 mg/d) and controls (2030 mg/d, p=0.99). The proportion of subjects consuming excess sodium, based on the adequate intake for age and gender, was similar between cases and controls (65% versus 69%, p=0.34). There were no increased odds of higher sodium intake among cases as compared to controls (for each 100 mg/d increase in sodium, OR=1.00, 95% CI 0.98, 1.02; p=0.93, for excess sodium intake, OR=1.05, 95% CI 0.67, 1.64; p=0.84). Conclusions Our results show no strong association between dietary salt intake and pediatric-onset MS risk, suggesting that salt intake may not play a prominent role in susceptibility to MS in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Dietary factors
  • Epidemiology
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pediatric
  • Salt
  • Susceptibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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