The MS epidemic: public health has its head in the sand?

Epub: Ajdacic et al. Missed epidemics and missing links: international birth cohort trends in multiple sclerosis.Eur J Neurol. 2012 Jul 11. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2012.03802.x.

BACKGROUND : Many hypotheses on the cause and pathogenesis of MS focus on risk factors occurring early in life. This study examined the variability of birth cohort trends in international MS data by means of age-period-cohort (APC) analysis.

: The data from 25 countries were taken from the WHO mortality database. It was encoded according to the International Classification of Diseases and covered slightly varying periods between 1951 and 2009. The APC analyses were based on logit models applied to cohort tables with 5-year age- and period intervals.

: In most countries, the birth cohort estimates peaked in those born in the first half of the twentieth century. In countries from Central and Western Europe, the peak concerned those born before and around 1920. A second group of countries (Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Scotland) shared a later peak amongst cohorts born in the 1920s and 1930s. Group 3 included Commonwealth countries, the USA and Norway, with a double or extended peak starting in the 1910s or 1920s, and ending by the 1950s. The fourth group, consisting of Mediterranean countries and Finland, was characterized by a steady increase in the birth cohort estimates until the 1950s. The fifth group with countries from Eastern Europe and Japan showed no particular pattern.

: Birth cohort trends have influenced the change in MS risk across the twentieth century in many Western countries. This silent epidemic points to a most important but unknown latent risk factor in MS.

The UK public health position on the MS Epidemic!

 “Nothing really new here; we are all aware of the epidemic all you need to do is come to an MS clinic at the Royal London Hospital to see it live. In London second generation ethnic minorities are bearing the brunt of the upswing in the incidence of MS. I would say 50% of the newly diagnosed cases are either Asian or from African decent. In Scotland the epidemic is twice the size and is affecting everyone; with the highest incidence in the world you would think the Scottish public health officials would be gagging to do something about it. Unfortunately, not! Having your head in the sand is no excuse!”

9 thoughts on “The MS epidemic: public health has its head in the sand?”

  1. I have noticed that white people with MS are pretty open and considerate, whereas Asian communities try and keep it hidden and almost feel a sense of shame. If what you are saying is correct then Asians are not properly dealing with MS in their community.Black people with MS is something I can't really comment on as I've only ever seen one black girl with MS in my life. Is there a support group for British black people with MS?

  2. If it's an epidemic, surely this should make it easier for the MS researchers to identify the cause/s!I find it annoying that the researchers are pointing the finger at Public Health officials. You're the guys with Professor in front of your name – shouldn't you be the ones identifying the cause/s of MS and coming up with effective treatments and prevention strategies?

  3. Re: "If it's an epidemic, surely this should make it easier for the MS researchers to identify the cause/s!"But I believe we have; EBV! Difficult to prove, but not impossible. This is why it is so disappointing when we got our treatment grant turned down by the MRC. Causation is a complex science; we also have to convince the funders that our research is worthwhile. Most peer-reviewers don't have MS and several have never seen or met an MSer.

  4. Re: "Public Health officials"Vitamin D supplementation at a population level is a Public Health issue; public health is run by public health specialists. They have ignored our pleas and want more evidence. What can I say? How many times can you bang your head against a brick wall? Ask Professor George Ebers, he has the most experience in this.

  5. I've only seen one black girl, Come to our research day or MS life and meet more.Are their support groups.. why not contact the MS Societies they don't care what colour you are, they will support any MSer

  6. re: "…they don't care what colour you are, they will support any MSer"I understand but sometimes, for relatability's sake, you want to meet people that have your disease but come from a shared racial background and culture. It's complex.

  7. Unless official Vit D recommendations change, many treating doctors are not going to be convinced either. Patients with printouts are not very convincing. The problem isn't just neurologists but also those who treat other autoimmune problems.

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