Higher Level Of Antibody Could Explain Why MS Worse Among Blacks

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Multiple Sclerosis

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An antibody used as a diagnostic marker for multiple sclerosis ispresent in greater levels in the spinal fluid of blacks with MS thanwhites with the disease, according to a study published in the July 3issue of Neurology, United Press International reports. For the study, John Rinker from Washington University School of Medicinemeasured levels of an immune system antibody called IgG in the spinalfluid of 66 black patients and 132 white patients with MS. According tothe study, blacks had levels 29% higher than whites. High IgG levelshave been linked to a more aggressive form of the disease, UPI reports (UPI, 7/2).

Rinkerin a statement said that the "findings show that ethnic differences inmultiple sclerosis extend to the immune response system, which plays acentral role in multiple sclerosis." He added, "It remains possiblethat genes are unevenly distributed between ethnic groups to accountfor different susceptibility to some diseases," adding that "recentgenetic studies have begun to identify certain genes, which may explainwhy [blacks] experience more disability" related to MS. However, therole of the genes remains unknown, according to Reuters Health (Reuters Health, 7/2).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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