Glossary beginning with H

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Heredity

Heredity is the passing of genetic traits from parents to their children, such as hair or eye colour. Studies in siblings and twins suggest that MS is caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. There are several genes linked to MS, but researchers have shown there are over 110 genes associated with MS.

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Herpes virus

There are a number of herpes viruses including the viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes (HSV 1 and 2), and the human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6). Some researchers believe HHV-6 may be linked to MS.

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Hookworms

Hookworms are parasitic worms that infect the gut of other organisms and live off nutrients moving through the gut. Research has shown that hookworm infections can dampen down the immune system, suggesting that they may be effective in treating a number of autoimmune conditions including MS. A phase 2 clinical trial taking place in Nottingham is investigating the safety and effectiveness of hookworm infections in people with relapsing remitting MS.

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Hormones

A hormone is a chemical message produced by glands in the body that travels through the bloodstream to regulate different organs. Current studies are being done to investigate the effects of hormones on relapses in MS.

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Housing benefit

Housing Benefit is paid by local authorities to help people on a low income to pay their rent. You may be able to claim all of your rent or just part of it. You do not have to be unemployed or claiming other benefits to apply for it.

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Human endogenous retrovirus

Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are viruses that at some time in the past integrated themselves into human DNA. There is some evidence linking specific HERVs to MS, but the connection is still unclear.

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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurised room or tube. Hyperbaric oxygen increases the oxygen content in the blood and in different body tissues. It is an accepted therapy for some medical conditions, for example, burns and decompression sickness. Some people with MS say it helps relieve some of their symptoms, but scientific studies fail to prove these claims.

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Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia is excessive sleeping, which may be a symptom of depression.

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