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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2014, Article ID 545080, 7 pages
Research Article

The Prevalence of Familial Multiple Sclerosis in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Saskatoon, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada
2Saskatoon City Hospital, 701 Queen Sreet, Suite 7717, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7K 0M7
3Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, 2211 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 2B5

Received 30 October 2013; Accepted 9 December 2013; Published 3 February 2014

Academic Editor: Sten Fredrikson

Copyright © 2014 Walter J. Hader and Irene M. Yee. 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.


Background. A population-based prevalent cohort of 150 clinical definite multiple sclerosis (MS) cases (102 women; 48 men) ascertained on January 1, 1977, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was found to have a familial rate of MS as 17.3%. Objectives. To determine the occurrence of familial MS cases and the frequency of MS among the biological relatives of the study cohort. Methods. The search for new familial cases MS affected relatives continued for 35 years until 2012. The natural history of the disease of sporadic cases is compared with that of the familial cases. SPSS V19 and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis were used for data analysis. Results. Of the 150 unrelated MS patients, 49 cases (32.7%) (36 women and 13 men) were reported of having at least one family member with MS. There were a total of 86 affected relatives, 26 (30.2%) first-degree relatives, 15 (17.4%) second-degree relatives, 20 (23.3%) third-degree relatives, and 25 (29.1%) distant relatives. The average age of MS onset for men with sporadic MS was 33.9 (SD = 10) years and 27.6 (SD = 8.4) years for familial cases and 29.3 (SD = 8.3) years and 26.8 (SD = 8.5) years for women. Conclusion. This 35-year longitudinal natural history study reveals a high frequency of cases with family members developing MS and supports a genetic influence in the etiology of MS.