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The Scottish MS Register: “a powerful resource”

The Scottish Multiple Sclerosis Register (SMSR) is a national database with records of people diagnosed since 2010. Orkney continues to have the highest rates of MS in Scotland.

MS Map of Scotland Edinburgh University

The SMSR was established by the Scottish Government in 2010 to collect the data available on MS and to compare regions of Scotland.

The Scottish Multiple Sclerosis Register (SMSR) aims to improve the care of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) by the use of systematic, comprehensive audit of their diagnosis and early management providing feedback through regular reporting and annual review of performance against national neurological standards.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh report that Scotland has one of the highest rates of MS diagnosis in the world with Orkney three times higher than the central belt and Borders.

 the lifetime risk of MS in Scotland is 6.55 per 1000 persons for the country as a whole

A woman in Orkney has a one in 50 chance of developing MS during her lifetime compared with around one in 600 for a man living in the Borders.

Shetland is more than one-third lower than in Orkney, despite Shetland being located farther north.

Lead researcher Dr Patrick Kearns said the Scottish MS Register is a powerful resource and the result of substantial far-sighted investment.

He said it builds on the strength of the NHS in Scotland and allows researchers to study geographical risk factors in detail.

Dr Kearns, Rowling Scholars Training Fellow, Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology  said:

“There is much more work to be done, not least to further ensure the accuracy and precision of the register. However, our hope is that by understanding more precisely where the areas of higher and lower risk are found in Scotland, we can start to work out why.”

To find out more click on the link to the full report: 

Regional variation in the incidence rate and sex ratio of multiple sclerosis in Scotland 2010–2017: findings from the Scottish Multiple Sclerosis Register

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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