Refereed review article in scientific journal (A2)

Changes in multiple sclerosis epidemiology in Finland over five decades

List of Authors: Pirttisalo AL, Soilu-Hanninen M, Sumelahti ML, Krokki O, Murtonen A, Hanninen K, Sipil JOT

Publisher: WILEY

Publication year: 2020

Journal: Acta Neurologica Scandinavica


Journal acronym: ACTA NEUROL SCAND

Volume number: 142

Issue number: 3

Number of pages: 10

ISSN: 0001-6314



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Finland is a high-risk region for multiple sclerosis (MS) with several epidemiological studies on the subject published since 1964, but these have not been comprehensively scrutinized. The objective of this study was to review previous studies of Finnish MS epidemiology, introduce new data on MS prevalence in western parts of Finland and do further analyses on data from previous studies. We performed a systematic search on articles regarding MS epidemiology in Finland in PubMed database, and all relevant articles were included in this review. MS prevalences in the western hospital districts of Vaasa, South Ostrobothnia and Pirkanmaa were calculated in 1980-2007 by using previously unpublished data obtained from a retrospective search from hospital administrative registries. To enhance comparability of the epidemiological figures, we calculated age-standardized prevalence of MS from the new data from western hospital districts and previous data from North Ostrobothnia, Southwest Finland and North Karelia. Marked regional differences in MS epidemiology were confirmed with concentration of the disease in the western and south-western parts of the country. The highest regional age-standardized MS prevalence of 288/100 000 was reported in South Ostrobothnia in 2007. A clear and stable increase in MS prevalence was observed through the decades, but the only marked increase in incidence happened in 1990s. Methodological differences hampered direct comparisons of different studies, highlighting the importance of common principles of reporting and standardizing the epidemiological figures. More comprehensive studies on MS epidemiology are still warranted to yield important information concerning the aetiology of the disease.

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Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 17:58