The numbers of people being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is rising worldwide, though distinct differences in factors thought to drive this rise are evident among regions, according to MS data represented by researchers on patients in Asia, Latin America, and the Australia-New Zealand.
The data was part of the session “Prevalence and phenotype evolution of MS in different continents,” that opened the 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting, taking place in Paris through Saturday.
Across Asia, the greatest increase in newly diagnosed MS patients is in Japan, researchers reported. That country today has 20,000 people with MS or neuromyelitis optica (an autoimmune disease affecting the optic nerves and spinal cord), compared to 1,000 in 1980.
New MS cases far outnumber those of neuromyelitis optica, said Yamamura Takashi with the Department of Immunology, National Institute of Neuroscience, Japan, who presented the data.
Bt this “increase is not because of better [disease] awareness,” Takashi said, citing findings in a recent study, nor could it be explained by improved healthcare management.
Researchers in Japan have also failed to find connections between MS risk factors — like smoking, lower exposure to sunlight, Epstein-Barr virus infection, or higher salt intake — and the increased rates of the disease.
Instead, Takashi suggested that a “Westernization” phenomenon, particularly in terms of diet and lifestyle, might be related to the higher rates of MS in the Japanese population.
In fact, “12.5% of Japanese MS patients” were living in the West “at MS onset,” he said.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?