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Multiple chemical sensitivity: It's time to catch up to the science.

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a complex medical condition associated with low dose chemical exposures. MCS is characterized by diverse features and common comorbidities, including fibromyalgia, cough hypersensitivity, asthma, and migraine, and stress/anxiety, with which the syndrome shares numerous neurobiological processes and altered functioning within diverse brain regions. Predictive factors linked to MCS comprise genetic influences, gene-environment interactions, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, cell dysfunction, and psychosocial influences. The development of MCS may be attributed to the sensitization of transient receptor potential (TRP) receptors, notably TRPV1 and TRPA1. Capsaicin inhalation challenge studies demonstrated that TRPV1 sensitization is manifested in MCS, and functional brain imaging studies revealed that TRPV1 and TRPA1 agonists promote brain-region specific neuronal variations. Unfortunately, MCS has often been inappropriately viewed as stemming exclusively from psychological disturbances, which has fostered patients being stigmatized and ostracized, and often being denied accommodation for their disability. Evidence-based education is essential to provide appropriate support and advocacy. Greater recognition of receptor-mediated biological mechanisms should be incorporated in laws, and regulation of environmental exposures.

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