Scientists still don't know what causes multiple sclerosis, but new research suggests that a particular strain of food poisoning may play a role, reports the BBC. The food bacterium in question is called Clostridium perfringens, which NBC News notes is responsible for millions of cases of foodborne illnesses per year, often through undercooked meat. A rare strain of it produces a toxin called epsilon, and the researches found that this toxin attacks the brain in the same way that MS does.
“To me, if you were going to design a trigger for this disease, this would really fit the mold really well,” says a researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. He adds that it's far too early to conclude that the toxin causes MS, only that it appears to activate it. If further study backs up the finding, it could theoretically lead to a vaccine that prevents MS, says another of the Weill Cornell researchers quoted in Medical News Today.