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Table of Contents
Vol. 7, No. 4, 1988
Issue release date: 1988
Section title: Original Papers
Neuroepidemiology 1988;7:181–189
(DOI:10.1159/000110153)

Analysis of the ‘Epidemic' of Multiple Sclerosis in the Faroe Islands

II. Biostatistical Aspects

Poser C.M. · Hibberd P.L.
Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and Neurological Unit, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Mass., USA

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Papers

Published online: 5/26/2010

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0251-5350 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0208 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NED

Abstract

A series of biostatistical tests were applied to the data upon which the Faroe epidemic hypothesis was constructed. Temporal, cluster analysis using three commonly applied methods were unsuitable because of the very small size of the sample (32 cases of MS). Methods to detect non-random clusters of disease identified a cluster of 16 cases with date of onset between 1941–1950 (p < 0.05). However, when 1 questionable case of MS was excluded, the resulting cluster did not support the epidemic hypothesis. The overlapping 95% confidence limits of 5- and 10-year based incidence rates of MS, by date of onset (Poisson distribution) argues against the presence of an epidemic. Analysis of the exposure data, i.e. contacts between the Faroese and the British troops, yielded only borderline statistical significance but changing a single case of MS from the exposed to the unexposed category failed to support the exposure theory. All calculations were also carried out using the probable date of acquisition of the disease, between the ages of 5 and 14 years; these also failed to substantiate the hypotheses of epidemic and transmissibility. Since the validity of statistical analysis to test for the presence of epidemics with small sample sizes is not well established, the lack of concordance between the results of the various approaches leads to the conclusion that there was no epidemic of MS in the Faroes.


  

Author Contacts

Charles M. Poser, MD, Neurological Unit, Beth Israel Hospital, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 (USA)

  

Article Information

Published online: May 26, 2010
Number of Print Pages : 9

  

Publication Details

Neuroepidemiology

Vol. 7, No. 4, Year 1988 (Cover Date: 1988)

Journal Editor: Feigin, V.L. (Auckland)
ISSN: 0251–5350 (Print), eISSN: 1423–0208 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NED


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Papers

Published online: 5/26/2010

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0251-5350 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0208 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NED


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