T. Corona
National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery – Mexico City, Mexico

Epidemiological and genetic studies suggest that the prevalence, median age of onset, and specific phenotypes of MS are different in Caucasians and Latino Americans. Recent epidemiological studies indicate an increase in MS prevalence in LA, where the south–north gradient of latitude described for Nordic countries does not exist.

Analysis of MS epidemiological and specific aspects in LA suggests that susceptibility and clinical behavior of the disease are related to mixtures of genes in the population.

LA is a vast geographical territory of the Americas (approximately 21,069,500 km2), where languages derived from Latin are primarily spoken. It extends from the southern limit of the USA (latitude 328 north) to the Antarctic (latitude 568 south).

Its population is around 580 million people and its geographical subregions include North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.

Studies in LA report high frequency of visual and spinal abnormalities at onset and during the course of MS and a higher frequency than expected for neuromyelitis optica. Other clinical studies suggest that MS manifestations in LA are generally similar to the classic (or Western) forms of the disease.

In LA, MS appears to develop in racial groups of mixed European-Amerindian and European-African ancestry (Mestizo) as well as in Caucasian patients, rather than in unmixed Amerindians, perhaps in relation to the mongoloid genes in the latter group.

Key words: genetics, Latin America, multiple sclerosis, neuroepidemiology.

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