Age and MS

A board to discuss the newly-released drug Tysabri, (formerly known as Antegren) as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Age and MS

Postby bromley » Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:20 am

Dear all,

MS is often referred to as a disease of young adults. However, we are seeing postings from younger teens (16,17) with MS and people being diagnosed well into their 50s and 60s. Is anyone researching this area to establish whether changes are taking place from what was previously considered the norm? Can it tell us anything about possible triggers for the disease? For those diagnosed at 15,16,17 - it must be easier to identify possible triggers e.g. viruses, vaccines etc

Bromley
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Postby Sharon » Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:17 pm

I was diagnosed at 60 years of age but, I think I could have been diagnosed 25-30 years ago. So, along with your query I would also wonder "how many people have MS and don't know it."
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Postby JFH » Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:21 am

Bromley

I think Dr Ebers at Oxford (Radcliffe Infirmary) has done epidemiological research and Prof Compston at Cambrige (Addenbrokes) heads the Cambridge MS Genetics Group. This from their newsletter (only one issue - a pity) I think is relevant to your query (my emphasis):
Twins are important for research because they can be used in a variety of comparative ways: they have usually shared the same environment and been exposed to the same viruses and infections in childhood. In general if it were the case that identical twins are both affected with a disease (100%), this indicates a large genetic component; if however, only one is affected, then correspondingly the genetic component must be small. In our study of MS only 25% of identical twin pairs were both found to be affected.

We also looked at non-identical twins and found in 97% of pairs that the co-twin was not affected.

This and other similar studies demonstrate a genetic contribution to MS, but it is by no means the whole story. We think that having a particular combination of several genes means some people are more susceptible to getting MS; however, other trigger factors have to be encountered over a number of years before the symptoms develop and this is where the importance of enviromental factors including viral infections come into the story.
http://www-gene.cimr.cam.ac.uk/MSgenetics/newsletter.shtml

But a caution over averages. This came up in my googling:
Age at diagnosis, mean ± SD (years), 31 ± 11, 34 ± 12
Which tells us what? Just that nearly all the people in that study were between 10 and 58. From wich we can conclude what? Perhaps not much more than people are middle-aged at 34!
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Postby Sharon » Sun Dec 05, 2004 11:01 am

John -

In my reply to Bromley "I was diagnosed at 60 years of age but, I think I could have been diagnosed 25-30 years ago. ", I did not mention that I have a brother who was diagnosed with MS 25 years ago. He has had a multitude of serious excerbations over the years and has some disability. I have had minor episodes - more of a case of "hmm, wonder why that happened". What amazes me is that not one doctor through 25 years suggested it might be MS (the doctors were aware of the family history of MS). A chiropractor finally referred me to a neurologist.

So, again I wonder how many people have MS and do not know it. I think we are dealing with a lot more than the 350,000 estimated in the US.

I have another question. I have been told that as you get older (60-70) the MS activity "burns" itself out. Does anyone know?

Sharon
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Postby oreo » Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:33 pm

Bromley, I think you have confused two different things in your original query; age of onset and age of diagnosis. They are no always the same.
I was diagnosed at the age of 50, however a review of my clinical history led the neuro to deduce that my onset attack occurred at the age of 20.

In other words, I spent 30 years with the disease without knowing that I had it. This is true for a lot of people, thus the middle age diagnosis.
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Postby Mulcher » Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:20 pm

There is s cool website that adress some of these questions, they use polls to poll the members.

What age they had initial symptoms is one of the questions.

Here is the website:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/mu ... osispolls/

enjoy.
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