Social consequence of MS: unemployment

Pfleger et al. Social consequences of multiple sclerosis (1): early pension and temporary unemployment--a historical prospective cohort study. Mult Scler. 2010 Jan;16(1):121-6. 

"This study confirms other data sets in the literature that MS is a devastating disease economically; it causes unemployment!"

"Thankfully, the MS'ers in this study were fortunate enough to live in a socialist country with an excellent safety net. Denmark is one of the best, if not the best, country to live in if you have MS."

Multiple sclerosis affects young and middle-aged people and often leads to physical and cognitive handicaps. There is a need for detailed knowledge of the social consequences of the disease. The investigators describe the course of the working life and career of MS'ers at the time of onset and thereafter, in terms of probability of early pension and income development. All 2538 MS'ers with multiple sclerosis in Denmark with disease onset between 1980 and 1989, identified through the Danish MS-Registry, were included in this study. Twenty matched control persons per patient were randomly drawn from the civil registration system. Information on economic status was retrieved from Statistics Denmark. A survival analysis technique was used with onset as the starting point. We found that the probability of remaining without early pension (or in employment) was at 5 years 70% for MS'ers and 97% for controls, and at 20 years 22% for MS'ers and 86% for controls. Due to higher rates for early pension, gross income with time was lower in patients than controls. 
We conclude that multiple sclerosis seriously affects the economic life of MS'ers, even within a few years of onset.

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