Geographical Variations in Sex Ratio Trends over Time in Multiple Sclerosis
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Background A female/male (F/M) ratio increase over time in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients was demonstrated in many countries around the world. So far, a direct comparison of sex ratio time-trends among MS populations from different geographical areas was not carried out. Objective In this paper we assessed and compared sex ratio trends, over a 60-year span, in MS populations belonging to different latitudinal areas. Methods Data of a cohort of 15,996 (F = 11,290; M = 4,706) definite MS with birth years ranging from 1930 to 1989 were extracted from the international MSBase registry and the New Zealand MS database. Gender ratios were calculated by six decades based on year of birth and were adjusted for the F/M born-alive ratio derived from the respective national registries of births. Results Adjusted sex ratios showed a significant increase from the first to the last decade in the whole MS sample (from 2.35 to 2.73; p = 0.03) and in the subgroups belonging to the areas between 83ࠎ and 45ࠎ (from 1.93 to 4.55; p<0.0001) and between 45ࠎ to 35ࠎ (from 1.46 to 2.30; p<0.05) latitude, while a sex ratio stability over time was found in the subgroup from areas between 12ࠓ and 55ࠓ latitude. The sex ratio increase mainly affected relapsing-remitting (RR) MS. Conclusions Our results confirm a general sex ratio increase over time in RRMS and also demonstrate a latitudinal gradient of this increase. These findings add useful information for planning case-control studies aimed to explore sex-related factors responsible for MS development.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified