Healthy Living

How and Why Does Multiple Sclerosis Appear Differently in African Americans?

The reality

The widely believed myth that MS only affected Caucasian people or at least affected Caucasian people to a greater extent than African Americans has been directly confronted with several important studies over the past several years. In 2012, for example, a study of military personnel found that multiple sclerosis actually affected 46% more African Americans than non-Hispanic white people.

Similarly, in 2013 another study found that African Americans were at a 47% higher risk for developing multiple sclerosis as compared to Caucasians. That study also revealed that within the African American community, women were three times more likely to develop the disease as compared to men. In a follow-up to this 2013 study, additional research found that about 26% of African Americans have a family history of multiple sclerosis. What’s shocking is that when you compare that number, 26%, to a comparable Caucasian community, you’ll discover that it’s the same.