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The contribution of mortality statistics to the study of multiple sclerosis in Australia.
  1. S R Hammond,
  2. D R English,
  3. C de Wytt,
  4. J F Hallpike,
  5. K S Millingen,
  6. E G Stewart-Wynne,
  7. J G McLeod,
  8. M G McCall
  1. Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia.


    Mortality statistics provided a valuable source of support for data obtained from prevalence surveys of multiple sclerosis in Australia. Firstly, multiple sclerosis mortality data for the decade 1971-80 in the States of Australia confirmed the relationship between increasing disease frequency and increasing south latitude shown by State and regional point prevalence surveys based on the national census day 30 June 1981. Secondly, a comparison with mortality data from the decade 1950-59 showed that in most States there had been a substantial fall in multiple sclerosis mortality in the more recent decade and this was clearly an important contributing factor to the rise in prevalence noted between the morbidity surveys of 1961 and 1981. Thirdly, multiple sclerosis mortality in the UK-born migrant population dying in Australia was found to be similar to that of the Australian-born population and very much lower than that found in the UK. This observation corroborated evidence from the 1981 morbidity surveys and suggested that migration from the UK to Australia may lower the risk of developing multiple sclerosis either through a reduction in disease incidence or the operation of environmental factors curbing disease expression.

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