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Neuroepidemiology. 2006;26(2):102-7. Epub 2005 Dec 21.

Multiple sclerosis mortality and patterns of comorbidity in the United States from 1990 to 2001.

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Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA , USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative condition that can result in cognitive and physical disability and shortened life expectancy. However, population-based information is lacking regarding the mortality burden from MS in the United States. We investigated trends in MS mortality rates and examined important comorbidities in the United States from 1990 to 2001. MS deaths were matched by age, sex, and race/ethnicity with randomly selected deaths from other conditions for matched odds ratio comparisons. The overall age-adjusted mortality rate from MS was 1.44/100,000 population. MS mortality rates increased throughout the study period. MS mortality rates were higher in whites than in any other racial/ethnic group, followed by Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Asians and Pacific Islanders. Observed mortality rates were more than 10 times lower in Asians and Pacific Islanders than in whites. The odds of pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia/influenza being reported on the death certificate were higher in MS deaths than in matched controls.

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