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Report: Multiple Sclerosis Cases Have Increased 10% in Past 5 Years

Total cases hit 2.3 million worldwide (October 2)

According to the Atlas of MS 2013, issued Oct. 2 by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), the reported occurrence of multiple sclerosis (MS) has increased by nearly 10% globally.

The Atlas shows that there are more people with MS around the world than previously estimated and that, in low-income countries, there is no government funding for drugs to treat the disease.

However, there has been a significant increase in medical personnel who can diagnose and help people manage their MS, the report says. In addition, the provision of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines to carry out scans has doubled in emerging countries.

Other findings include:

  • The estimated number of people with MS in the world has increased to 2.3 million (up 9.5% from the 2008 survey).
  • The report confirms that women are twice as likely to have MS as men, although in some countries women are three times as likely to have MS.
  • Up to 5% of people with MS develop the disease before the age of 18.
  • The number of neurologists worldwide has increased by 30%, and the provision of MRI machines, which are key to the early diagnosis and treatment of MS, has doubled in the past 5 years in emerging countries.
  • Disease-modifying therapies for MS are partly or fully funded by governments in 96% of high-income countries, but funding drops to zero in low-income countries.

“With this new edition of the Atlas of MS, we now have a much clearer picture of where the gaps are and where improvements have been made in the battle to diagnose and treat this debilitating disease,” said Peer Baneke, CEO of MSIF.

Source: MSIF; October 2, 2013.

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