Clinical features of multiple sclerosis in Puerto Rico

Source:  Clinical features of multiple sclerosis in Puerto Rico    Tag:  ms prevalence

Epidemiology 1

Thursday, October 14, 2010, 15:30 - 17:00

Clinical features of multiple sclerosis in Puerto Rico

A. Chinea (Guaynabo, PR)

Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease of the central nervous system (CNS). There are currently about 350,000 people in the U.S. with MS.In Latin America, the estimated number of MS patients is 60,000 to 90,000. Latin America has a medium-low risk for MS and shows significant regional variations. Evidence indicates an increase of MS incidence in some regions. According to the Continuous Health Survey 2003/2005, Puerto Rico (PR) has a crude MS prevalence rate of 52/100,000 inhabitants. 
Objective: To evaluate and analyze data obtained from MS patients to determine the clinical features of MS patients in PR 

Methods: PR has a total population of 3.9 million. Ethnic groups include white 76.2%, black 6.9%, Amerindian 0.2%, mixed 4.4%, other 12.3%. A cross-sectional analysis was performed to examine disease-related information. A questionnaire was mailed to the Puerto Rico MS Foundation to gather information on MS patients. A total of 698 questionnaires were received and evaluated. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze demographic data (name, address, date and place of birth, sex, occupation and education), and MS related variables: age of onset, sex, current symptoms and symptoms after the first relapse, diagnosis, median disease duration, family history, relapse frequency and treatment. Three MS-trained neurologists assessed 10% of provisional cases and confirmed diagnosis. 

Results: Of 698 eligible participants, 79% were women (mean age 35 to 44 years) and 21% were men (mean age 45 to 54 years). The female/male ratio was 4:1. The mean age at onset was 33 years for women and 32 years for men. Mean age at diagnosis was 36 years for women and 34 years for men. The mean range between the clinical onset and the diagnosis of MS was 9 years. Median disease duration was 12 years. More than 60% of MS patients had completed at least a bachelor’s degree or higher. The most common current symptoms were numbness (74%), weakness in legs and arms (68%) and visual problems (63%). The main symptoms reported by patients after the first MS exacerbation were fatigue (68%), coordination and balance problems (64%) and weakness (60%). 

Conclusions: This is one of the first studies assessing MS patients in PR. Our findings suggest a possible high prevalence of MS. Differences in data reported in other Latin American countries could be attributed to environmental and/or genetic factors. Future studies should be performed to confirm prevalence data in PR.

Angel Chinea has nothing to disclose - 
Reported at ECTRIMS 2010

This information was posted - because it was asked to me on April 17, 2013 to obtain this information.


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