Soil based bacteria could possibly trigger MS

Hi everone

I have received several messages from the MS Society on my face book page about a soil based bacteria possibly being the trigger to MS. Please see below, if you want to read the whole article there’s a link at the bottom of the page. Just wondered what others think about this.

A soil-based bacteria could possibly trigger MS, according to very exciting news from a new study by Weill Cornell Medical College. This is a very promising development in the MS research field since the trigger has thus far remained very elusive.

Interesting. Let’s hope they can develop the right treatments as mentioned.


Pretty sceptical of this one. Unless, like CJD, it turns out it can be transmitted by eating contaminated meat, I’d have to be the least likely candidate ever to pick up soil-based bacteria. Never played with ‘dirt’ as a child (not forbidden, just not interested), very limited interest in garden or outdoors as an adult. How on earth does one pick up ‘soil-based bacteria’ when one’s natural habitat is at home, reading a book? Candidate for low vitamin D? Yes - that I CAN believe! But nasties from garden or farm? How?



I’m posting anon here as want to protect my identity. For the last five years, well before any of my symptoms for MS started, I used to work as a fence contractor. I used to dig holes, with machines but quite often had to use my hands to get the remaining soil out from the holes. I was cabbed in mud pretty much for five hours a day.

Fast forward eighteen months and I start to get niggles/ sensations which, when looking back did point to MS symptoms.

It’s a tough one to call, but who knows. What excites me is the fact that more and more research is being done into the trigger points for MS and one day hopefully our children and grand children will be able to only have to learn about this horrid disease in a history lesson, rather than live with it.

Thanks for the replies,

I am not exactly green fingered but did do what little gardening there was during our marriage of over 30 years (do not like worms so would not have got hands dirty that much) and as a youngster I was brought up eating fresh veg and fruit from garden produce, which often meant mum washing off dirt before peeling.

On a lighter note my young cousins and I did bury teddy ‘David’ in my garden once, I dug him up and covered him in disinfectant as I felt guilty and knew something of germs, I think the disinfectant may have done more harm than the earth.

I guess most of our fresh veg comes from the ground so we all come in touch with bacteria from dirt, us unlucky ones may have the genetic susceptibility to end up with MS. Until more research is done however we will not know.

Wendy x

I will read it later. I hope its nothing to do with playing in dirt as a child because I did that…A LOT.

Interesting article. My view from reading as much as I can about MS (that I can understand!), is that the trigger may not be the same for all of us, that’s why so many theories lead to dead ends. For some it is viral, for others bacterial, further complicated by the fact that you may have a predisposition to MS because of family history whilst others don’t seem to have MS in the family. Also you may have all of these, and need a further trigger to set the disease off such as stress/illness/grief etc. With the cause so varied it is no wonder the effect is equally diverse, and not surprising that the one size fits all treatments aren’t doing the trick.What did Churchill say about Russia, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”, sound familiar?.

Indeed it does sound familiar prisoner, I have thought for a while now that there are differnt reasons why we get it. The bacteria theory may be true for some but I would have thought (being a bear with very little brain) that they would have found this out before!

Hmmm, interesting. As a young child, I used to get through three sets of clothing a day due to my liking for making mud pies and digging up worms. However, I am one of five children and we all played outside all the time and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was often caked in dirt.

We all ate homegrown veg all the time and often picked a young carrot or radish, rubbed the worst of the dirt on our clothes, and ate it straight from the ground. As an adult I had an allotment (until MS forced me to give it up).

I have asthma and rhinitis whilst my 4 siblings don’t so I am obviously genetically different to them and I react badly to natural things around me.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if someone has cracked part of the riddle. Of course, there’s still a long way to go, as this research still doesn’t explain why some of us react badly to this bacteria and so many farmworkers come into contact with soil on a daily basis yet don’t have MS.

It’s another wait and see scenario but in the meantime I’ll have to endure endless well-meaning relatives telling me how scientists have at long last solved the riddle …

Tracey x

I am just as sceptical as Tina about this one.

The thing that you have to remember about all announcements from American Universities (and Cornell is a good one) is a thing called “Tenure”. An academic who gets tenure is now sure of a job for five years. But, coming up to the fifth year, that academic will start looking for publications to support his/her status - and get that renewal of tenure. A “Gosh”, “Wow”, “Fancy that” type announcement is just the sort of thing that would help retain that tenure status.

This popped up on the Thisisms forum recently and the discussion headed toward just which pro-biotic would “cure” the problem. Additionally, the report in Everyday Health contains a basic flaw as early as the second paragraph - this is enough to make me wonder about its general accuracy.


Hmm Doctor Geoff, I did think along the same lines when I found out where the research was being done, I would have thought that one of our research facilities (perhaps one that JK Rowling is funding) could look into this too. Someone no doubt will.

Hi, very interesting, I’ve always liked to garden, even have a greenhouse, hence the name, my sisters been looked into at the moment as well and she’s the same, loves to garden, lets see what happens next, thanks again. x

Hi, This is interesting, but I think it more likely that humans could have contracted it from meat infected with the bacterium, or even from crops/veg grown in contaminated soil. Another reason to carefully question what you eat, especially ready meals, restaurants etc where ingredients are bought cheap so as to get more profit. Just seen an article that suggests a link between autoimmune diseases and copper, eg copper piping used to supply homes - or even businesses - with water. But, like the soil article said, there’s too much money in pharmacuticals for anyone to investigate seriously. Heather

Ya mean, if I’d washed more as a kid, I might be healthier now?!!


I dunno about you but I grew up in a council house with a coal fire in one room and the bathroom was too damned cold to stay in for long. I figured the extra layer of dirt would keep me warm lol


When I wasn’t playing in dirt as a child I was collecting old Lollipop sticks and making treacle Lollies when the council tar men had been round…didn’t eat them of course Do you think there’s a link with tar and MS?

elmo - your childhood sounds like mine! but…

we didn’t have a bathroom when i was very young and the bath was a tin bath which was kept in the shed…

and was bought out on bath night and put in the kitchen and filled with water.

Me and my sister had to bath in the same water! we had strip washes the rest of the week!

The toilet was an outside one and was awful in the winter!

Get the violins out = we were pretty poor!

The young people on this site won’t believe me!


I’m so sorry Corkie - i have just realised i have taken things off topic.

Its interesting but i have to say i tend to think there is some truth in what Geoff is saying.


We had a bathroom Treek and a tin bath My dad had to use the tin bath in front of the fire when he came back from the pit. Happy memories. I’m sorry too Corkie, just had to get that off my chest Lol…I’ve done now.

That’s ok folks, I’ve enjoyed reading your stories, it is interesting what we put up with all those years ago. I love the smell of parafin heaters as it reminds me of Christmas, that’s the time the parafin heater came out. My childhood was very like ‘the snowman’. Next door had an old motorbike and a tarpaulin over his very old car. Memories of tin baths by the fire come into my head, I think it was too cold to bathe in the bathroom. There was a parafin stove in the loo as well, which was not quite out doors but the other side of the porch and it was freezing. There was a very long garden leading to an orchard, we often played in the dirt. By god my brother, our kids and I wish we lived there now!

Wendy x