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Reporting of rise in MS rates may cause undue alarm

Your article about a rise in rates of multiple sclerosis in Scotland ("Lack of sun blamed for MS rise", November 30) was misleading and may cause undue alarm.

The story was based on statistics collected by Scottish health boards comparing numbers of people diagnosed in 2007 with those diagnosed in 2012. These figures are interesting, but the numbers in both cases were relatively small, so it's impossible to conclude from them if the rise was due to chance, improved diagnosis or because there are actually more people getting the condition.

As the national charity dedicated to beating MS, it's important to us that any reporting about the condition is accurate and reliable. What is particularly disappointing in this case is that we expressed our concern about the reliability of these figures before you published the article yet you chose not to print our comment.

We would encourage anyone who is concerned about the story to call the MS Society helpline on 0808 800 8000.

Nick Rijke,

Director of policy and research, MS Society,

372 Edgware Road, London.

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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