According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS affects an estimated 400,000 people in the US with a new case is diagnosed every hour, often in young adults.
It is an unpredictable chronic disease of the nervous system that can trigger all sorts of problems including trouble with vision, speech and movement. Researchers have always thought that MS strikes women twice as often as men. But not anymore there is now evidence that the ratio of women to men has grown to four to one.
"We're seeing an increase of nearly 50% per decade in which women are relatively more affected than men, that's a pretty rapid change over time. This points to that there is some changing phenomenon in our environment that must be changing who gets MS," said Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, of the Cleveland Clinic Researcher.
The Cleveland Clinic was part of a joint study on MS that looked at more than 32,000 people. Researchers say now they will strengthen their focus on a number of environmental factors that might explain a higher incidence of MS in women along with birth control and smoking rates, hair dye and even cosmetics could be under the microscope to see why more women are affected.