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More MS news articles for March 2004

MS risk gradient in Ireland

March 19th, 2004
Boston Cure Project

An interesting epidemiological study of MS prevalence in Ireland found that residents of County Donegal in the northwest of the country have an approximately 50% greater risk of MS than those living in County Wexford, in the southeast. County Donegal's rate is 184 cases per 100,000 whereas in County Wexford it is 120 per 100,000. The authors speculate that this gradient is probably not due to environmental factors but instead to genetic differences -- in particular, a greater degree of Scottish ancestry in the north of Ireland. A higher prevalence of MS has been found in Scotland compared with England and Wales, and the Scottish people have a higher frequency of the MS-associated genetic allele known as HLA DR15. The authors note that a genetic study of Counties Wexford and Donegal is now being conducted to test this hypothesis.

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