Recent research suggests that African Americans may be at higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis than previously thought. The new publication counters research that white people are at highest risk for MS.
MS is a detrimental, lifelong condition which results in loss of motor skills, deteriorating vision, muscle weakness, and more. Annette Langer-Gould, MD and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study identifying 500 newly diagnosed MS patients. The average age at diagnosis was 42 years and 70% of those diagnosed were women.
The researchers found a significantly higher incidence of MS among African Americans when compared to white, Hispanic, and Asian individuals with MS.
This is the second study to demonstrate the changing MS risk among African Americans. A 2012 study of military personal reported similar findings.
The authors explain,
“A possible explanation for our findings is that people with darker skin tones have lower vitamin D levels and thereby an increased risk of MS, but this would not explain why Hispanics and Asians have a lower risk of MS than whites.”