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Non-Hispanic Women Have Highest MS Mortality Rates

January 23, 2018

Researchers from the UCLA’s Keck School of Medicine looked at the influence ones race, ethnicity, age, sex and time period has on mortality rates in multiple sclerosis patients. Their survey, “Multiple Sclerosis Mortality by Race, Ethnicity, Age, Sex, and Time Period in the United States, 1999-2015,” used a large database to analyze MS deaths over a 16-year period.

Researchers had classified death records into five racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander, and non-Hispanic of any race. Age-adjusted and age-specific MS mortality rate per 100,000 individuals was calculated by race/ethnicity and sex over time.

Of 59,462 patients analyzed, 66 percent were women and 34 percent were men. Death rates were found to be the highest among non-Hispanic whites, accounting for 86 percent of all MS-caused death in the period analyzed. Non-Hispanic females had 1.5 per 100,000 inhabitants MS-related deaths, which is the highest of all ethnic groups. The rate for non-Hispanic black women was 1.42 and non-Hispanic black men 0.75 per 100,000. On the other hand, MS killed 0.12 of every 100,000 females of Pacific island origin and 0.05 of every 100,000 males.

The survey found that Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska Natives had similarly lower age-adjusted MS mortality rates when compared to non-Hispanic blacks and whites.

It was also discovered that there is a rapidly rising trend of MS-specific mortality among non-Hispanics in general. There is also a very age-specific mortality pattern seen in non-Hispanic blacks where higher mortality rates have been seen among those younger than 55 as well as non-Hispanic whites, who had the highest mortality rate after that age. The risk plateaued after 55 years old for those among non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and American Indian or Alaska Natives.

Researchers noted that, “This may suggest that the burden of disease weighs differently by race/ethnicity at least in the United States.”

Overall, researchers concluded that MS-specific mortality is affected by race/ethnicity and age, and that whites and females, who happen to be the two groups most affected by the disease, are at a higher risk of dying from MS.