Multiple sclerosis does not care about ethnic origin

Epub: Kim et al. Clinical characteristics and outcome of multiple sclerosis in Korea: does multiple sclerosis in Korea really differ from that in the Caucasian populations? Mult Scler. 2013 Feb 13.

BACKROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) in Asia is thought to have different clinical characteristics from MS in Western countries; however, previous studies in Asia were performed without properly differentiating neuromyelitis optica (NMO) from MS. 

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the clinical characteristics of MS in Korea after careful exclusion of potential explanations other than MS, particularly NMO spectrum disorder (NMOSD). 

METHODS: This study is a retrospective review of consecutive MS patients attending five referral hospitals in Korea. All patients’ MS diagnoses were re-evaluated. 

RESULTS: Of the 105 patients, 70 were female and 35 were male. The mean age of onset was 30.4 years and the mean disease duration was 5.4 years. On initial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 58% and 64% fulfilled the criteria for dissemination in space for the 2005 and 2010 McDonald criteria, respectively. Spinal cord lesions were observed in 78% of patients, primarily present as multiple small lesions with a mean length of 0.9 vertebral segments. The median time from disease onset to an Expanded Disability Status Scale 6 was 20 years. 

CONCLUSIONS: After careful exclusion of NMOSD, we found that the clinical pattern of MS in Korea does not fundamentally differ from that seen in Western countries.

MS is the same the world over

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  • Is it true that black and south Asian people in Britain that develop MS have a worse disease prognosis than Caucasian MSers? If that is true then why is it so?

  • I believe that people of recent African ancestory are more likely to develop progressive MS. Maybe Ram or Prof G can speak to reasons, but one thing that is likely to be the case is that people with darker skin in the UK are more likely to be vitamin D insufficient. This is because the skin colour limits penetration of ultraviolet light that can trigger vitamin D production and that UK is so far North that the sun in winter is not strong enough to cause vitamin D production.

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