Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Font Size

Multiple Sclerosis Rates Up 50%

Review Tracking Neurological Disorders Shows 1 in 1,000 Americans Have Multiple Sclerosis

Conditions Not Tracked

These conditions aren't necessarily the most common neurological disorders, note Hirtz and colleagues.

For instance, they didn't track sleep disorderssleep disorders, chronic pain, or mental retardation.

And though autismautism and cerebral palsycerebral palsy are lifelong conditions, data were only available for cases in children.

Trends in Conditions

Besides the rise in MS prevalence, the researchers also note a "possible" increase in nonfatal strokestrokeand a "substantial" rise in Alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer's disease, compared with the 1982 review.

Those trends are likely due to America's agingaging population and better diagnosis, according to the review.

Traumatic brain injuries are down by about half since the 1982 review.

"It is likely that this reflects more restrictive hospital admission criteria, although improvements in motor vehicle safety may also contribute," write Hirtz and colleagues.

They note no major changes in rates of cerebral palsy, epilepsyepilepsy, migraine, ALSALS, or Parkinson's diseaseParkinson's disease.

Previous estimates weren't available for autism spectrum disorders or Tourette's syndrome.

Past data were "too sparse" to track trends in spinal cord injury, the researchers say.

Concerns Over MS Estimates

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is voicing concern that the review underestimates multiple sclerosis in the U.S.

In a news release, the society says it "applauds the efforts of the NIH to document the importance of neurological disorders."

However, there is "considerable uncertainty about the exact number of people in the U.S. who have MS," says the society.

The society agrees with the reviewers that better studies are needed to improve the accuracy of MS estimates.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
senior woman with lost expression
Know the early warning signs.
woman in art gallery
Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
medical marijuana plant
What is it used for?
senior man
boy hits soccer ball with head
red and white swirl
marijuana plant
brain illustration stroke
nerve damage
Alzheimers Overview
Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix