More MS news articles for Aug 2001

MS Rate In Small Town Troubling

Health Department Investigating

Posted: 6:53 p.m. EDT August 15, 2001

WELLINGTON, Ohio -- Multiple sclerosis is a disease that normally affects about one in every 1,600 people, but the numbers seem higher in parts of northeast Ohio.

NewsChannel5's Debora Lee reports that health department investigators in one local county are about to find out just how high.

Lisa Davidson looks healthy. She tends to her flower garden, cooks, bakes and cleans the house. But she has a disorder in her central nervous system called multiple sclerosis, and so do nearly 30 other residents of Wellington, a tiny community in southern Lorain County.

"Right now, I have a swallowing problem, so it's hard to eat," Davidson said. "I can only walk short distances, (and I have) periodic numbing. My worst time is in the winter."

When Davidson was diagnosed, she was told that a town the size of Wellington would have maybe two MS cases. But there are at least seven others on her street alone.

Although the concern is in Wellington, health officials want to know how prevalent MS is in other parts of Lorain County as well. A study is being expanded to find out.

"It's important to know if there's an elevated amount of cases," Lorain County health commissioner Ken Pearce said. "Then maybe we might be able to pursue research opportunities in that area."

The Lorain County Health Department will contact doctors and hospitals to review the medical records of MS patients. Pearce said that he hopes to have some answers within a year.

"I think a cure is a long way off, but (if) you can find some sort of associations other than the genetic association, it might be significant," he said.

Patterson is happy about the study, but she's not holding out much hope for a cure.

"I would like to think that would happen, but I really don't have much hope for that," she said.

No one is sure why so many Wellington residents have MS, but Patterson said that she's sure that it isn't a coincidence.

Copyright 2001 by NewsNet5