HealthDay News — The prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) is similarly high in Black and White individuals and is lower in Hispanics and Asians, according to a study published online April 27 in Neurology.

Annette M. Langer-Gould, M.D., Ph.D., from the Los Angeles Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving more than 2.6 million adults from Kaiser Permanente Southern California to examine whether the prevalence of MS varies by race and ethnicity.

A total of 3,863 patients with MS were identified. The researchers found that the average age of prevalent MS patients was 51.7 years; 76.8% were women. The female preponderance was more pronounced among Black and Asian versus White or Hispanic individuals with MS (81.2 and 83.6 versus 76.3 and 74.5%, respectively). Blacks and Whites had similarly high age- and sex-standardized MS prevalence (225.8 and 237.7 per 100,000, respectively), while prevalence was significantly lower among Hispanic and Asian persons (69.9 and 22.6, respectively). Across all racial and ethnic groups, MS prevalence was highest between ages 35 and 64 years and decreased after age 65 years. The crude MS prevalence was low among adults aged 18 to 24 years but was highest in Blacks and Hispanics, lower in Whites, and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander individuals (48.5, 25.0, 18.0, and 7.1 per 100,000, respectively).

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“Understanding MS prevalence in all people has important implications when it comes to making sure people are properly screened and treated for this disease,” Langer-Gould said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to Acumen Inc.

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