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MS Myths: What Does Not Cause MS

When considering the risk factors for any disease, it is important to separate fact from fiction. The table below contains a list of possible causes or triggers for MS that have been proven to be false.

MS Triggers That Have Been Proven to be False

Cause or Trigger
Canine distemper
  • Research has ruled out household pets and the virus that causes canine distemper as increasing risk for MS
  • There is no evidence that MS is triggered by reaction to an environmental allergen
Heavy metals (examples: mercury, lead, manganese)
  • There is no evidence that exposure to heavy metals (including mercury amalgams used in dental fillings) causes MS
Physical trauma
  • Research has found no evidence of a link between physical trauma and the development or exacerbation of MS
  • There is no evidence that the artificial sweetener aspartame (used in foods and diet soft drinks) causes MS
Written by: Jonathan Simmons | Last reviewed: May 2015.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Old Theories That Have Been Disproved. Available at: Accessed on 091112- • Aronson KJ. The epidemiology of multiple sclerosis--who gets MS and why? In: Kalb R, ed. Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have - The Answers You Need. 5th ed. New York, NY: Demos Health; 2012:21-27.