Methods: A search was made in Greater London, the West Midlands, Leicester, Bradford, Halifax, and Huddersfield to find ethnic Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi immigrants to England with MS. The population at risk by ethnic group and age at entry was not available from the 1991 Census but was available in the annual Labour Force Surveys.
Background: Previous studies have shown that MS is very uncommon among Indian and Pakistani immigrants to England but that their children born in the UK, in the age groups available for study, have a similar risk of developing the disease as occurs in the general British population.
Aims: This study ascertained if these immigrants who enter England as children below the age of 15, have a higher risk of developing MS than those that enter after this age.
Results: Indian and Pakistani immigrants who entered England younger than 15 had a higher risk of developing MS than those that entered after this age.
Conclusions: This study confirms previous studies which show that the environment during childhood is a major factor in determining the risk of developing MS.
Dean and Elian. Age at immigration to England of Asian and Caribbean immigrants and the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1997 Nov;63(5):565-8.
“An interesting result that shows again that something in the environment acting in childhood determines your MS risk.”
“Being Asian and living in Asia puts you at very low risk, migrating to the UK from Asia as an adult puts you at low risk, migrating as a child increases your risk and being born in the UK to Asian parents puts you at the highest risk.”