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MS prevalence in New Zealand, an ethnically and latitudinally diverse country


Taylor, BV and Pearson, JF and Clarke, G and Mason, DF and Abernethy, DA and Willoughby, E and Sabel, C, MS prevalence in New Zealand, an ethnically and latitudinally diverse country , Multiple Sclerosis, 16, (12) pp. 1422-1431. ISSN 1352-4585 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2011 SAGE Publications

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DOI: doi:10.1177/1352458510379614


Background: The prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) is not uniform, with a latitudinal gradient of prevalence present in most studies. Understanding the drivers of this gradient may allow a better understanding of the environmental factors involved in MS pathogenesis. Method: The New Zealand national MS prevalence study (NZMSPS) is a cross-sectional study of people with definite MS (DMS) (McDonald criteria 2005) resident in New Zealand on census night, 7 March 2006, utilizing multiple sources of notification. Capture–recapture analysis (CRA) was used to estimate missing cases. Results: Of 2917 people with DMS identified, the crude prevalence was 72.4 per 100,000 population, and 73.1 per 100,000 when age-standardized to the European population. CRA estimated that 96.7% of cases were identified. A latitudinal gradient was seen with MS prevalence increasing three-fold from the North (35S) to the South (48S). The gradient was non-uniform; females with relapsing–remitting/secondary-progressive (RRMS/SPMS) disease have a gradient 11 times greater than males with primary-progressive MS (p<1107). DMS was significantly less common among those of Maori ethnicity. Conclusions: This study confirms the presence of a robust latitudinal gradient of MS prevalence in New Zealand. This gradient is largely driven by European females with the RRMS/SPMS phenotype. These results indicate that the environmental factors that underlie the latitudinal gradient act differentially by gender, ethnicity and MS phenotype. A better understanding of these factors may allow more targeted MS therapies aimed at modifiable environmental triggers at the population level.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ethnicity, gender ratio, latitude, multiple sclerosis, prevalence
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Preventive medicine
UTAS Author:Taylor, BV (Professor Bruce Taylor)
ID Code:66080
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:70
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2010-12-20
Last Modified:2011-05-02

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