Twice as Many People Have Multiple Sclerosis Than Previously Thought

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This new data helps researchers have a better understanding of MS and provides tools to do more studies to look at environmental triggers.

“How can we cure MS? By preventing it from starting at all is part of the answer,” LaRocca said. “If we can find environmental triggers, then we could reduce risk and maybe prevent it.”

The data also spotlights the need for more and better care.

“MS is a more challenging disorder than we realize, and there is a greater need than we realized,” LaRocca explained. “We need to work hard and redouble our efforts to make sure that everyone diagnosed with MS has access to quality medical care and access to treatments that can help with MS.”

“We have to do a better job at not only making sure they have access to quality care, but they are using the quality care,” he said. “It can make a difference in their lives with MS to take care.”

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“And we need to build the MS clinical workforce, which is strained or not available, especially in rural areas,” he added.

The study also highlights the need for a cure.

“We have a mission to find a cure,” Tim Coetzee, PhD, chief advocacy, services, and research officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, told Healthline. “This information will help with advocating for more funds.”

“We’re not finished,” LaRocca said. “We are still working with the data, exploring options, and looking at racial and ethnic differences as well.”