May 18, 2004
Manitoba is a hot spot for multiple sclerosis, according to new research by a local epidemiologist.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is disease of the central nervous system. Its symptoms, progression and severity are unpredictable, but it can be disabling. Every year, 110 new cases of MS are diagnosed in Manitoba.
Dr. Lawrence Elliott, a community medicine specialist at the University of Manitoba, has completed but not yet published a study on MS in Manitoba.
"From our study, from the evidence that we found, that the prevalence and incidence are among the highest in the world," he says.
"Within the methodology of the study, the numbers that we found for prevalence and incidence were comparable to other prairie provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as areas in northern Europe like Scotland that have been known to have very high incidence and prevalence of MS."
Elliot says Manitoba's cold climate may have something to do with the high number of cases here.
"It may be either directly or indirectly related to climate, because there is a higher prevalence and incidence in countries and regions further from the equator, both in the north and the south," he says.
Elliot will present his findings and answer questions at an MS Society
open house Tuesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 141 Bannatyne Avenue in Winnipeg.
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