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Geographic location and multiple sclerosis

The number of people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) increases the farther away they are from the equator.

In areas near the equator, MS occurs in 1 in 100,000 people. In areas farther from the equator?such as northern Europe and northern North America?MS occurs in around 30 to 80 of every 100,000 people.1 When moving south of the equator, the number of people with MS is less dramatic, but the same trend is seen.

Some evidence suggests that people who move from a high-risk to a low-risk area before the age of 15 reduce their chances of developing MS. However, the same is true in reverse?in those who move from a low-risk area to a high-risk area before the age of 15, the risk of getting MS increases.1 Those older than 15 when they move to a new area retain the risk associated with their old area.

Most experts agree that this unusual relationship between geographic location and MS suggests that an environmental factor is partly responsible for causing the disease.



Victor M, Ropper AH (2001). Multiple sclerosis and allied demyelinative diseases. In Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology, 7th ed., pp. 954?982. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Thanks for the article. It's interesting that you bring up geography, because I have been wondering whether it's a factor in POTS. I may be over-generalizing, but it really seems like most of the posters on this site are from the East Coast or Midwest of the U.S. I wonder why there aren't more people from the West or Southwest...

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I am from the west coast. I did not get diagnosed until I moved to the east coast. From what I have read so far, there seems to be less research being done on POTS on the west coast. Also, there may be less doctors on the west coast specializing in POTS so it may be that it is just not getting diagnosed.


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That's an interesting article. I had always heard that MS primarly affected white females from the Northeast. I have a friend from NJ with MS, it took 5 yrs of testing for doctors to finally dx her. Her doctors lean towards the "tick theroy" for the cause. And that was without them knowing she grew up riding horses. She still rides to help stregthen her leg muscles.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about MS can be found on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site: http://www.nmss.org/

Yes, vitamin D and sunshine (or lack thereof) are thought to be contributing factors to MS, but a true cause has yet to be found. It's all just theory at this point. My brother and my sister-in-law both have MS; one born in September, the other in December. The born-in-May things sounds fairly absurd to me ...

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Guest Julia59

My best friend died from MS. She obviously had the worst kind as it took her life in only 7 years. She was diagnosed in 1995 and died in 2002. She was 41 years old when she died.

We were both raised in West Toledo---Middle Class neighborhood, several blocks away was a DUPONT plant. For two years my friend lived only a block away when she lived with her Grandfather. I think it has a lot to do with environmental issues. But then again, her grandfather lived in that house for years, and he didn't die until his late eighties. Another woman on that same block developed breast cancer.

All I know is that Tons of research needs to be done regarding neuro---and autoimmune disorders & environmental causes--- I just don't see it.

Julie :0)

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It's hard to know what to link with what illness, just trying to find common denominators.

Etoly - No there AREN'T ANY specialized POTS doctor's on the West Coast. I travel from Oregon to Ohio to see Dr. Grubb. The only research I know of being done right now is at the NIH, Mayo and Vanderbilt.

We need to light some fires to get help with Dysautonomia.

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Guest tearose

Briar, thanks again for all the info.

I would gladly chisel out some of my time and energy to "light some fires" and blaze some trails on behalf of a greater understanding of dysautonomia. We'll have to brainstorm..

We need a good leader to head it. Maybe IF Dr. Grubb takes some time off from seeing people he may be interested in a position like this?? It would allow for him to rest and heal but still keep very active in his area of specialization? Just brainstorming.....we need a plan, we need a goal and a shared vision....and tee shirts!

what do you think? tearose

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All of your ideas are excellent as always :)

I wish Dr. Grubb would write a professional medical text about POTS & Dysautonomia. I also wish that he would train doctor's to treat our illness. It would be nice if he could tour the Country educating doctor's. Maybe we could approach some pharmaceutical company to help fund this or look for government grant money. We'll definitely have to do some brain storming.

I love the T-Shirt idea too. I wonder how well the bracelets are doing and if they sold them all yet.

OK, I need to sleep now it's been a very long night and it's difficult to think.

Thx for your ideas Tearose.

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