Women are three times more likely than men to develop lupus, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis, currently thought to be autoimmune diseases that are caused by a person's immunity attacking her own body, instead of doing its job of killing germs. This increased risk may be caused in some way by the process of pregnancy, or it may be due to the fact that women are twice as likely as men to become infected with a sexually transmitted disease and 10 times more likely to become infected with HIV. See my report on mycoplasma, chlamydia and ureaplasma.
Several papers have shown that multiple sclerosis may be caused by infection with human herpes-6 (39,40), lupus by parvovirus B-19 (27,38) and rheumatoid arthritis by mycoplasma (2-26).
People with autoimmune diseases usually have proteins called antibodies that attach to and damage a person's own body proteins and cells, rather than attaching to and killing known germs that enter the body. For example, antinuclear antibodies, double-stranded DNA antibodies and anticardiolipin antibodies are often fond in people who have lupus and the rheumatoid factor is found in rheumatoid arthritis. These autoantibodies can be caused by infections with Hepatitis B and C viruses, the human immunodeficiency virus, and parvovirus B19 (1,38). Several papers have suggested that rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by mycoplasma bacteria (2-26), lupus by parvovirus B19 (27), Crohn's disease by bacteroides and klebsiella bacteria (28-37), and multiple sclerosis by HHS-6 and JC viruses (39,40) and many doctors are treating rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease with antibiotics. Future studies will show if these autoimmune diseases are actually triggered by infections.
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