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Do Environment and Economics Play a Role in Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis Statistics on Environmental Impact

The findings of the previously mentioned studies indicate a strong role for an environmental factor in the cause of MS. It is possible that, at the time of or immediately following puberty, patients acquire an infection with a long latency period (the period of time in which the infection is present in the person without producing any noticeable symptoms). Other studies suggest that people of certain races and ethnicities may be more susceptible to the unknown geographic or climatic element.
Periodically, scientists receive reports of MS "clusters." The most famous of these MS "epidemics" took place in the Faeroe Islands north of Scotland in the years following the arrival of British troops during World War II. Despite intense study of this and other clusters, no direct environmental factor has been identified. Likewise, no definitive evidence has been found to link daily stress to MS attacks, although there is evidence that the risk of MS symptoms worsening is greater after acute viral illnesses.

Multiple Sclerosis Statistics on Economic Costs

MS is a lifelong chronic disease diagnosed primarily in young adults who have a virtually normal life expectancy. Consequently, the economic, social, and medical costs associated with the disease are significant. Estimates place the annual cost of MS in the United States in the billions of dollars.
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