The spring 2013 newsletter for Veterans with Multiple Sclerosis, has an article about a recent epidemiological study conducted on Gulf War Veterans with MS, to find the disease burden of MS. According to the study, the incidence of MS has been increasing over the last forty years.
U.S. military populations have been a source for epidemiological studies on MS since World War I, when Dr. Fred M. Davenport presented a study of military draftees that were discharged with MS. These and other studies were done on veterans who served in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Viet Nam War. Most of these studies examined risk factors, age of onset, and the progression of the disease until death.
In the new study a total of 2,169 Veterans who served during the Gulf War era (start of war in 1990 to 2007) and were service-connected* for MS, were included in the study in an effort to find trends and MS risk factors within this group.
The average age of onset for this population was 31 years.
Women had an incidence of MS rates nearly three times as high as men, which is the same in most countries.
The rates for incidence of MS are increasing for Racial and Ethnic minorities, which contrasts with earlier studies of MS showing that Whites were affected more.
The Air Force had the highest incidence rate, followed by the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and finally the Marines. The “boots on the ground” Air Force and Army veterans had a higher incidence than other soldiers; which is an odd contrast to the Marines having the lowest rate.
Further studies will be looking more deeply into the relationships between minority populations and MS. For more information on this study, you can read the abstract at
“The Gulf War era multiple cohort; age and incidence rates by race, sex, and service” in Brain: a Journal of Neurology from Oxford University Press, or pay an exorbitant amount of money to subscribe to the journal, or pay $32.00 to access this article for one day. On the bright side, if you register with this journal, you can have access to some free publications in each issue like
On the bright side, Oxford Open has a variety of fully open-access journals.
* If an individual had symptoms of MS in the military, or within seven years after honorable discharge, he or she may be eligible for service-connected disability.