Sunday, 22 September 2013

Prevalence of MS in UK

Mackenzie IS, Morant SV, Bloomfield GA, Macdonald TM, O'Riordan J.Incidence and prevalence of multiple sclerosis in the UK 1990-2010: a descriptive study in the General Practice Research Database.J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Sep 19. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-305450. [Epub ahead of print]
OBJECTIVES:To estimate the incidence and prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) by age and describe secular trends and geographic variations within the UK over the 20-year period between 1990 and 2010 and hence to provide updated information on the impact of MS throughout the UK.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Incidence and prevalence of MS per 100 000 population. Secular and geographical trends in incidence and prevalence of MS.
RESULTS: The prevalence of MS recorded in GPRD increased by about 2.4% per year (95% CI 2.3% to 2.6%) reaching 285.8 per 100 000 in women (95% CI 278.7 to 293.1) and 113.1 per 100 000 in men (95% CI 108.6 to 117.7) by 2010. There was a consistent downward trend in incidence of MS reaching 11.52 per 100 000/year (95% CI 10.96 to 12.11) in women and 4.84 per 100 000/year (95% CI 4.54 to 5.16) in men by 2010. Peak incidence occurred between ages 40 and 50 years and maximum prevalence between ages 55 and 60 years. Women accounted for 72% of prevalent and 71% of incident cases. Scotland had the highest incidence and prevalence rates in the UK.
CONCLUSIONS: We estimate that 126 669 people were living with MS in the UK in 2010 (203.4 per 100 000 population) and that 6003 new cases were diagnosed that year (9.64 per 100 000/year). There is an increasing population living longer with MS, which has important implications for resource allocation for MS in the UK

When I first start MS research it was thought that there were about 80,000 MSers in the UK, this study suggests that we are approaching 130,000. MSers are living longer so maybe treatments and lifestyle changes are having a positive effect  


  1. It would be useful for provision of services, support for research and charities for this figure to be confirmed somehow.

  2. I've always thought that 80,000 was an under estimate. I've had more friends diagnosed with MS than cancer. I've known people to hide their illness in the past. How are these figures obtained? Years ago people were not told they had MS. Since the disability discrimination act sufferers are more likely to seek help and tell their employers. Lifestyle has a big impact. A relapse was treated with bed rest now we exercise, this will prolong our lives if nothing else.


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