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Familial recurrence risks for multiple sclerosis in Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 10:19 authored by O'Gorman, C, Freeman, S, Bruce TaylorBruce Taylor, Butzkueven, H, Broadley, SA
Background Genetic susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS) has been recognised for many years. Considerable data exist from the northern hemisphere regarding the familial recurrence risks for MS, but there are few data for the southern hemisphere and regions at lower latitude such as Australia. To investigate the interaction between environmental and genetic causative factors in MS, the authors undertook a familial recurrence risk study in three latitudinally distinct regions of Australia. Methods Immediate and extended family pedigrees have been collected for three cohorts of people with MS in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania spanning 158 of latitude. Age of onset data from Queensland were utilised to estimate age-adjusted recurrence rates. Results Recurrence risks in Australia were significantly lower than in studies from northern hemisphere populations. The age-adjusted risk for siblings across Australia was 2.13% compared with 3.5% for the northern hemisphere. A similar pattern was seen for other relatives. The risks to relatives were proportional to the population risks for each site, and hence the sibling recurrence-risk ratio (ls) was similar across all sites. Discussion The familial recurrence risk of MS in Australia is lower than in previously reported studies. This is directly related to the lower population prevalence of MS. The overall genetic susceptibility in Australia as measured by the ls is similar to the northern hemisphere, suggesting that the difference in population risk is explained largely by environmental factors rather than by genetic admixture.


Publication title

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry










Menzies Institute for Medical Research


B M J Publishing Group

Place of publication

British Med Assoc House, Tavistock Square, London, England, Wc1H 9Jr

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Copyright © 2011 BMJ Publishing

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Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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