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Orkney Islands has highest global MS rate

Orkney Islands has highest global MS rate
11th December 2012

Orkney Islands has highest global MS rate

The remote Orkney Islands has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world, a study has revealed.

The research appears in this month's Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry and was produced in conjunction with Edinburgh and Aberdeen universities.

Scientists are now attempting to discover why the rate of MS is so high, with one in 170 women in the area having been diagnosed with the degenerative condition.

Studies conducted in the 1970s found that the rate in the area was high, but it Orkney Islands was high but the rate of "probable or definite cases" has now risen to 402 per 100,000.

By way of comparison, the rate in Aberdeen is 229 per 100,000.

Dr Jim Wilson, of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, said: "These findings may reflect improved diagnostic methods, improved survival or rising incidence. We are trying to work out why it is so high, but it is at least partly to do with genes."