Multiple sclerosis prevalence is linked to where a person lives.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most disabling conditions of young adults around the world. Each week in the United States at least 200 new cases are diagnosed, and some neurological experts believe environmental factors have a stronger link to our risk of developing MS than they were originally thought.
In one study conduced in the U.K, reader of clinical neurology Dr. Klaus Schmierer found that black residents and people from South Asia had higher prevalence of multiple sclerosis, compared with the same groups that were living in their ancestral countries. This seems to suggest an environmental influence in the development of MS.
Schmierer and his team of researchers pointed out that east London is a diverse area with high population density and, therefore, lent itself well to an investigation into the impact of migration from territories of very low MS prevalence to the U.K., where MS prevalence is, in fact, very high.
Schmierer discovered that the incidence of MS in Ghana is roughly 0.24 per 100,000 people. The prevalence of MS in East London is about 111 per 100,000 people. The prevalence per 100,000 was 180 for the white population, 74 for black people, and 29 for South Asian people. It turned out that multiple sclerosis was several times more prevalent among black people and South Asians living in London, compared to those groups living in their ancestral territory. MS prevalence for people living in India was about seven per 100,000 people and for Pakistan it was five per 100,000.
When looking at environmental factors, researchers have found that the risk of developing multiple sclerosis becomes higher as you move farther away from the equator. Additionally, developed countries – ones with better sanitation – have more cases of MS. This leaves many medical scientists wondering if we are too careful when killing microorganisms. In other words, are we killing off both good and bad in our efforts to be clean?
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