The Evolving Knowledge of Multiple Sclerosis in LATIN American Countries in the 20th Century

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Trinity Exhibit Hall
José A Cabrera Gómez, MD, PhD , Neurology, International Center of Neurological Restoration, Havana, Cuba
Alina González-Quevedo, MD, PhD , Neurobiology, Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Havana, Cuba
María L Rodríguez-Cordero, BD , Neurology, International Center of Neurological Restoration, Havana, Cuba
Martha Cristofol-Corominas, Prof , Neurology, International Center of Neurological Restoration, Havana, Cuba
Anelis Y Cabrera-Núñez, MD , Medical School “Raúl Dorticos Torrado”, Cienfuegos, Cuba
John F Kurtzke, MD , Neurology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC


Details on the evolution of knowledge of MS in Latin America (LA) in the 20th century are not well known.


In the present study the evolving knowledge of MS in LA in terms of its clinical, diagnostic, anatomopathological, epidemiological, genetic and therapeutic aspects is reviewed. 


Authors reviewed papers cited in PubMed and SciELO, and other articles from Latin America.


Since the first case reported in Brazil in 1923, cases and case series of MS were reported in most LA countries throughout the XX Century. Epidemiological data were available from studies conducted in Mexico, Cuba, Cuban-Americans and Martinique. Observations point to an apparent increase in its frequency without a north-south gradient. The mechanisms that contributed to increased identification and frequency of MS in LA were: improvement of medical education and diagnostic techniques, as well as dissemination of genetic susceptibility. Numerous LA countries had neurologists dedicated to the  specialized care of MS persons, and disease modifying therapies were extensively introduced. MS was diagnosed among Mestizos, Caucasoids and African Americans, but not in non-mixed Indoamerican groups. Clinical manifestations of MS in LA were largely similar to those described elsewhere. The first familial association of MS was reported in Brazil. The Latin American Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (LACTRIMS), Latin American Associations of  MS persons and the Consortium of MS centers  provided  increased benefits for persons with MS.


This study  provides a more complete knowledge of  MS in Latin American countries during the 20th century.