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Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to help kiss goodbye to multiple sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis is on the rise in Australia – especially among young women. Here’s how you can raise funds to help find a cure.

The number of Australian teenagers and young women being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) is on the rise and no one knows why.
More than 23,000 Australians suffer MS and 76 per cent of them are female. More than 500 new cases are diagnosed here each year. And there are 2.3 million people with MS worldwide.
Tragically, the average age of diagnosis is just 30 (although you can get it at any age). 
MS is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself. While the cause is still unknown, experts believe genetic and lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, vitamin D, sunlight and stress all play a role.
Australia – particularly Tasmania - has one of the highest rates of diagnosis in the world, leading scientists believe there is also a link between MS and distance from the equator. 
(You are seven times more likely to get MS if you were born in Tasmania versus tropical North Queensland. MS is also rarer in the Middle East, Asia or equatorial countries.)
“Evidence from here in Australia and overseas suggests that the incidence of MS is increasing,” says Dr Hamish Campbell, Research Development Co-ordinator at MS Research Australia. 
“Theories of why this increase is happening focuses on potential changes in lifestyle factors including, poorer diet and an increase in urbanisation leading to a decrease in outdoor activities.”
He says MS is most likely caused by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental risk factors which may include vitamin D deficiency, smoking, obesity and infection by the Epstein-Barr Virus.

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