MS incidence is increasing in Europe in females; why?

Is MS a pink-ribbon disease? #MSblog #MSResearch

Epub: Alcalde-Cabero et al. Incidence of multiple sclerosis among European Economic Area populations, 1985-2009: the framework for monitoring.BMC Neurol. 2013 Jun 12;13(1):58. 

BACKGROUND: A debate surrounding multiple sclerosis epidemiology has centred on time-related incidence increases and the need of monitoring. The purpose of this study is to reassess multiple sclerosis incidence in the European Economic Area.

METHODS: These investigators’ conducted a systematic review of literature from 1965 onwards and integrated elements of original research, including requested or completed data by surveys authors and specific analyses.

RESULTS: The review of 5323 documents yielded ten studies for age- and sex-specific analyses, and 21 studies for time-trend analysis of single data sets. After 1985, the incidence of multiple sclerosis ranged from 1.12 to 6.96 per 100,000 population, was higher in females, tripled with latitude, and doubled with study midpoint year. The north registered increasing trends from the 1960s and 1970s, with a historic drop in the Faroe Islands, and fairly stable data in the period 1980-2000; incidence rose in Italian and French populations in the period 1970-2000, in Evros (Greece) in the 1980s, and in the French West Indies in around 2000.

CONCLUSIONS: They conclude that the increase in multiple sclerosis incidence is only apparent, and that it is not specific to women. Monitoring of multiple sclerosis incidence might be appropriate for the European Economic Area.

“Why the increasing incidence in women? Alberto Ascherio, at Harvard, thinks smoking accounts for ~50% of the observed increase in incidence. I disagree. In Iran where very few women smoke (~6-8%) has seen the greatest increase in women with female to male ratios reaching 5:1. I think it has to do with the Iranian revolution and woman having been forced to cover-up outdoors. We now see much lower vitamin D levels in Iranian woman compared to Iranian men.”

“What about in the developed world? I suspect this is due to the cosmetics industry and the fact that the dermatologists have won their war on melanoma and other skin cancers? Most makeup (foundation or base) have sun block in them; UV skin damage causes premature ageing, If you want to keep looking youthful make sure you use sunblock. Don’t let Little Johnny or Little Mary get sunburnt. Kids in developed country hardly see light. The sales of sunblock have soared by nearly 1000% in the last 20 years.”

“What about in Asia? Covering-up and preventing skin darkening is endemic from India to Japan. The risk of vD deficiency and MS risk may not be in the woman herself, but in her children. We now have hints that the developing immune system does not develop normally in the womb of the mother is vD deficient and is predisposed to developing autoimmune disease in life. If we know all this why don’t we do something about it? Search this blog using the term vitamin D and see what else we have to say.”

21 thoughts on “MS incidence is increasing in Europe in females; why?”

  1. Smoking is a red herring. I never smoked ang got MS. Smoking among women way higher in 30s and 40s. I also got plenty of sun. I did get a very bad case of mono. Stick with your EBV theory Prof G. Maybe low Vit D and smoking may impact on the immune system's ability to deal with EBV in the CNS. Prove that EBV is the culprit will get you the Nobel prize you are after.PS please keep Prof Mousekiller off the wacky backy. He's supposed to be investigating cannaboids not testing them. His White Knight posts are irritating

    1. As part of my participation in this project you have to deal with my posts. When it becomes a chore it is time to quit.The White knight posts are serving a purpose. You wil just have to suffer them until all is revealed (in a few years time). Back to the jointi never inhaled.

    2. It is likely that EBV and vitamin d are two sides of the same coin. I use vitamin d to control chronic EBV (10,000IU a day). Last time I stopped (when I was on 5,000IU a day) in winter it took 10 days before the virus reactivated.

  2. Typical of the men running this blog to demonise women and allege that they are the culprits of their own disease because of vanity.Women always get a hard time. We are viewed in the worst light (pun intended).

    1. I assume it is men who run the cosmetics industry. May be it is a conspiracy after all.

    2. You won't have to wait too long for men to catch-up; they are beginning to use cosmetics as well.

    3. Not demonising women at all. Just reporting the science. As it says on the tin: "Interpreting good, bad and other research news". It is becoming increasingly difficult to please everyone. Maybe its time to take down the blog?

    4. never smoked, never used cosmetics, severe case of mono when I was a teenager so stick to your guns prof G. As for pleasing people, that's not your task..If they don't like it, it's a free world let them take their business else where. As for me this blog is a beacon in the dark. I know you people really care and work your asses off. Best wishes/Swedish Sara

    5. NO, the blog has become too important to vanish now. You must educate MSers and your fellow medics. Keep posting articles, banish the comment section if you must but stay ON.

    6. Please don't shut down the blog.I am very grateful for your time and energy you put into this blog. I very much appreciate your explanations and interpretations of ms-research as well as the questions you answer. It seems to me this is unique in the internet. You have helped me a lot understanding what is going on in my body and brain. I kind of admire how you manage to deal with people like Rich/mforall, Dr Dre, sometimes VV and lately the CCSVI-gang. I certainly would not have the patience to answer them on and on and on again. Of course I stopped reading their comments long ago but since I read the blog as RSS it is hard to sort away your answers to these people too. I sometimes feel energy-drained from this because after all I have ms and fatigue and on a bad day MD's 100th request to Rich to leave this blog is not exactly what I would like to get out from this blog. Then again – nobody is forcing me to read the comments.Maybe instead of shutting it down you might consider changing how you run the blog. I wished you banned trolls faster, removed abusive comments without further explanation and maybe turned off comments to some topics or when it gets wild (like this weekend). Like someone else said – it is your blog, you make the rules.

    7. Don't let the trolls win. Shut off the comments for a while. Summer heat makes a lot of us MSers cranky.

    8. I think the blog has become a playground for trolls. Perhaps you need to take it off BlogSpot and launch a new subscriber only website. Have users submit membership request invitations, much like what does.Whilst I can understand the CCSVI gang's crusade, Dr. Dre is beyond me. I don't know where he's coming from and what he hopes to achieve. He seems to oppose everything. I question whether he actually really is a doctor.

    9. we could simply moderate comments, but this takes time and really needs some engaged on the project to do this..

  3. Throughout history until recently we have been killing off men before they would get ms. They did this more recently in Iran..

  4. This blog became my go to resource even before my diagnosis with MS. It gave me tools, language, vocabulary, to better communicate with my neuro doctor and to make sense of what I was being told. If you ever take it down, please leave an archive version so this knowledge is not lost to others. I check your postings regularly for further news, so my vote would be please keep it. You are free to remove abusive and insulting comments if you prefer. You can also ban ip addresses from further posting. It is your blog. We discuss, within your territory. You make the rules.

  5. Increasing incidence or more advanced and thorough detection methods? If you look hard enough you'll find more disease.

  6. I like this blog and find it helpful even if bit gloomy from view of 56 yr old SPMSer. Just block the trolls! x

  7. I love this blog and find it so informative and helpful – and would be really upset if it stopped. Just a question on the Vitamin D issue – what would be a sensible amount of Vit D supplementation for a non MSer ie what amount of Vit D should I be giving my kids (ie kids of an MSer)? It is very hard to get a definitive answer on this. Any suggestions?

    1. Please look here

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