• “Why does Bennington have one of the highest MS rates in the world?”

    From Hippocrates’ Shadow, by David Newman:

    Why does Bennington have one of the highest MS rates in the world? We don’t know, but we can read the maps that show it to be true. Studies of epidemiologic trends have established that the highest incidence of MS rests firmly at this latitude, 40 degrees or greater, throughout much of the industrialized world. If you’re born in northern Wisconsin, or in the Scottish Highlands, or in New Zealand at latitude that’s 40 degrees or more from the equator, your likelihood of developing MS is strikingly similar to that of people born in Bennington, Vermont.[3]

    Reference 3 is:

    3. Hammond, S. R., J. G. McLeod, K. S. Millingen, et al. 1988. The epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in three Australian cities: Perth, Newcastle and Hobart. Brain 111: 1–25; Kuroiwa, Y., H. Shibasaki, M. Ikeda. 1983. Prevalence of multiple sclerosis and its north–south gradient in Japan. Neuroepidemiology 2: 62–69; Kurtzke, J. F., G. W. Beebe, J. E. Norman. 1979. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in U.S. veterans. I. Race, sex and geographic distribution. Neurology 29: 1228–35; Skegg, D. C., P. A. Corwin, R. S. Craven, J. A. Malloch, M. Pollock. 1987. Occurrence of multiple sclerosis in the north and south of New Zealand. J Neurol Nerosurg Psychiatry 50: 134-39.


    • “If you’re born in northern Wisconsin …” isn’t quite right. The data suggest that you are in good shape if you move to the land of sun and fun early and at risk if you move the opposite direction.

      Okay, dataman, I can hear you saying, “Oh, yeah? Where’s the cite? Huh?” (Actually, based on what I read, you have much more couth than that, but still…..)

      Well, this is lame; I can’t find, or more correctly, am too lazy to find, the relevant studies, so I will quote from a site. Not just any site, mind you, but the well regarded UCSF Dept of Neurology:

      “Individuals who are born in high-risk areas appear to acquire a lower risk if they relocate and establish residence in low-risk areas before age 15 years. In contrast, individuals born in low-risk areas may acquire a higher risk if they move and establish residence in a high-risk area before age 15 years.”

      Some are speculating that it is a vitamin D deficiency. (http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/vitamin-d?utm_medium=yahhp) Researchers I know have assured me that the “Vitamin D Stuff” is bunkum, but not down under!! Researchers there have begun an actual clinical trial to get that glorious stuff you and I love so much, DATA!

      Its chief investigator is Helmut Butzkueven, an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and Deputy Director of the Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (part of the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute (MNI)).

      So, I guess we will see what one study says…….

    • Some suspect that is has to do with vitamin D. Too little may increase the risk for MS. Higher latitudes have less UV radiation which means your skin will produce less vitamin D.