Atlas showing MS around the world
I came across a couple of interesting things this afternoon. First, I found the Atlas of MS. (View at this link) It is very interesting. It shows the prevalence of MS around the world. The most striking thing about looking at a map of the world that shows cases of Multiple Sclerosis is how countries on the equator have a lot lower incidence of MS.
I have known this for a long time, as has everyone else who has done any research into MS. However, what is not known is the most striking thing to me. They don’t know why this is. There are a lot of theories out there. With some people thinking it has something to do with the gravitational field around the earth and others thinking it has something to do with the amount of sunlight. The theory about sunlight directly translates to the amount of vitamin D a person gets.
So as of now, there is no definitive answer — and probably never will be — as to why this is true.
The other thing I came across has to do with the demographics of multiple sclerosis. Generally speaking, and once again the reason is not known, it seems that twice as many women as men are diagnosed with MS yearly. There are really no theories, at least widespread, as to why this is. The overall incidence rate of MS was 3.6 cases per 100,000 person-years in women and 2.0 in men. Person-years are a type of measurement that take into account both the number of people in the study and the amount of time each person spends in the study. For example, a study that followed 1000 people for 1 year would contain 1000 person-years of data.
However, once again the real answer is not known. I think if they could figure out this puzzle, then that may unlock how to prevent and treat MS. If we find out why it is that woman get MS at a much greater rate then men then surely there must be something either in their chemical makeup or something else in the body that causes this.
The raw number, taking all cases into account, is pretty high. This map shows the number of cases broken down by region. I am not sure why the West Region has such a high number. The only conclusion I can come to there is because it includes the southwest as well as the northwest. I think if they had broken it down that way, the numbers would be more like the differences between the northern and southern areas of the rest of the country.
The latest estimates place the numbers of cases in the United States over one million for adults 18 and over. Worldwide estimates place the numbers around 2.6 million. And sadly the numbers not only increase every year but as a percent are increasing every year.
This does not bode well. This means that not only are we getting more cases which is to be expected with any disease, but the rates are growing. Just like if you are accelerating in a car it is getting faster and faster.
Personally, I already know several people with MS. As much as I love my friends and community, I do not want to see the community get larger. I want us to finally get a breakthrough and end this damnable disease. One of the things I enjoy doing is researching genealogy. I came across a death certificate for a great-great-uncle. He passed away in the 1940s. There was a handwritten note on the certificate that said “Died from Multiple Sclerosis.”
People can pass away from MS. But it is rare that they can directly attribute MS as a cause of death. It is usually just considered a contributing factor more than anything else.
That is why people say you don’t die from MS, you just live with it…
This turned out longer than I expected but that is fine. So everyone stay safe, stay healthy, and have a wonderful pain-free day!