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Multiple sclerosis cases hit 2.3 million worldwide

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  • Multiple sclerosis cases hit 2.3 million worldwide

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is most common in North America and Europe, at 140 and 108 cases per 100,000 respectively, while in sub-Saharan Africa the rate is just 2.1 per 100,000, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation's Atlas of MS 2013 showed on Wednesday.

    The atlas also confirmed that MS occurs significantly more in countries at high latitude, with Sweden having the highest rate in Europe and Argentina having more cases than countries further north in Latin America.

    The reason for the link to high latitudes is unclear but some scientists have suggested that exposure to sunlight may reduce the incidence of the disease.

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    If that's the case, then my risk is increased on a count of I can't spend much time in the sun. I'll burn up no matter what I do.

  • #2
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    AFAIK, there is no direct link between MS and sunlight (and presumably somehow vitamin D). Frosty is bound to have more information than I do, though.

    My guess is that this is much more about genetics than latitude. People in Sweden are far more likely to mate with other people in Sweden than they are with people in sub-Saharan Africa. There's also a lot more transit and migration between northern Europe and the Americas than there is between northern Europe and Africa.
    Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
    No one will be denied:
    Big law suits and bathroom toots;
    We're all getting Dixie-fried.
    But somewhere Hank and Lefty
    Are rollin' in their graves
    While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."


    • #3
      Colorado has a very high incidence of MS. The vitamin theory goes that low vitamin D is a risk factor for MS so the farther you get from the equator, the more you have. I dunno. A fair skinned person like myself can manufacture 10,000 I.U. of vitamin D in under 20 minutes of midday sun exposure between May and October. Vitamin D is stored so I ought to make enough for the winter at this altitude (and with almost no cloud cover).

      I have no idea so I take 10,000 I.U. every day anyway. I've got 100% Swedish genetics and like 25% of the ethnic Swedish population, I have polymorphic light eruption (PLE) which means I have to take it easy every Spring when it comes to exposing anything beyond by face and hands at first. (PLE goes away after a week or 10 days of careful exposure.) No one in my family has had MS that we know of but vitamin D therapy is really cheap and easy.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."