A new study shows the highest rates of MS right here in Central New York

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) Some shocking numbers recently came out which showed that the multiple sclerosis diagnosis rate in the Syracuse area is higher than anywhere else in the country.

A study by Blue Cross Blue Shield found the MS diagnosis rate in Syracuse in 2017 was 45 per 10,000 commercially insured people. This compares to the national rate of 24 per 10,000 people, while the rate for New York State was 31 per 10,000 people.

The question is why the discrepancy?

Jennifer Sanders joined up with a familiar friend to look for answers, and to update you on a person dealing every day with multiple sclerosis.

When does your typical workday begin?

A normal day for Dave Longley starts at about eight o’clock in the morning at NewsChannel 9.

Actually his alarm goes off at 6 a.m. to prepare to do the weather for B 104.7 radio each morning with Tom Owens and Becky Palmer.

Before becoming Assistant News Director, he was a Storm Team meteorologist for more than 20 years. In the spring of 2005, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

It was in the beginning of 2017 that Dave’s work-life changed. Instead of being in front of the camera delivering the forecast, he moved out into the newsroom and took on the role of Assistant News Director.

Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system with the disease affecting everyone differently.

For Dave, it affects his speech, for others, it can affect their mobility or vision or really a multitude of faculties.

There’s no known cause or cure. Although research over the past couple of decades has allowed for the development of many drug therapies, which are helping those with MS carry on as normal a life as possible.

A new study by Blue Cross Blue Shield found that the Syracuse area had the highest MS diagnosis rate in the country in 2017. They found this when examining medical claims from more than 41 million commercially insured members.

The numbers found by the insurance provider are on par with a more expansive study found on neurology.org.

Dr. Corey McGraw, who works in the Upstate Neurology Department, says another possible reason is less sun exposure.

However, researchers already knew that the Northeast U.S. has the highest regional rates of multiple sclerosis diagnoses in the country.

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