Non-Hispanic whites, especially females, are more likely to die from multiple sclerosis (MS) than any other racial group, though blacks tend to die earlier, concludes a study by researchers at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
Their survey, “Multiple Sclerosis Mortality by Race/ Ethnicity, Age, Sex, and Time Period in the United States, 1999-2015,” appeared in the journal Neuroepidemiology.
Researchers classified death records into five racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic of any race. Then they calculated the age-adjusted and age-specific MS mortality rate (per 100,000 individuals) by race/ethnicity and sex over time.
Of the 59,462 patients analyzed, 66 percent were women and 34 percent were men. Death rates were highest among non-Hispanic whites, which accounted for 86 percent of all MS-caused deaths in the period analyzed.
Non-Hispanic females had an MS-related death rate of 1.5 per 100,000 inhabitants — the highest of all ethnic groups — compared to 0.9 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic females. Likewise, the rate for non-Hispanic black women was 1.42, and for non-Hispanic black men, 0.75 per 100,000. By contrast, MS killed only 0.12 of every 100,000 females of Pacific island origin, and only 0.05 of every 100,000 males in that same ethnic group.
According to the survey, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska Natives had similarly lower age-adjusted MS mortality rates when compared to non-Hispanic blacks and whites.
The analysis also revealed a rapidly rising trend of MS-specific mortality among non-Hispanics in general, and a strong age-specific mortality pattern in non-Hispanic blacks, with higher mortality rates among those younger than 55, and non-Hispanic whites, who had the highest mortality rate after that age point.
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