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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 292631, 4 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/292631
Clinical Study

Absence of Multiple Sclerosis and Demyelinating Diseases among Lacandonians, a Pure Amerindian Ethnic Group in Mexico

1Neurodegenerative Diseases Laboratory, The National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Insurgentes Sur 3877 Col. La Fama. Del. Tlalpan, CP 14269, Mexico City 14000, DF, Mexico
2Genetics Laboratory, The National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Insurgentes Sur 3877 Col. La Fama. Del. Tlalpan, CP 14269, Mexico City, DF, Mexico

Received 5 June 2012; Revised 20 July 2012; Accepted 22 July 2012

Academic Editor: Jorge Correale

Copyright © 2012 Jose Flores et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a highly polymorphic disease characterized by different neurologic signs and symptoms. In MS, racial and genetic factors may play an important role in the geographic distribution of this disease. Studies have reported the presence of several protective alleles against the development of autoimmune disorders. In the case of MS, however, they help define MS as a complex disease, and confirm the importance of environmental agents as an independent variable not associated with ethnicity. We carried out an on-site epidemiological study to confirm the absence of MS or NMO among Lacandonians, a pure Amerindian ethnic group in Mexico. We administered a structured interview to 5,372 Lacandonians to assess by family background any clinical data consistent with the presence of a prior demyelinating event. Every participating subject underwent a comprehensive neurological examination by a group of three members of the research team with experience in the diagnosis and treatment of demyelinating disorders to detect clinical signs compatible with a demyelinating disease. We did not find any clinical signs compatible with multiple sclerosis among study participants.