US Hispanics Sought for Study of the Roles That Genetics and Culture Play in Severity of MS

US Hispanics Sought for Study of the Roles That Genetics and Culture Play in Severity of MS

University of Southern California researchers are recruiting 400 Hispanics who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the past two years for a study about genetics’ and cultural perceptions’ effect on the severity of the disease.

More specifically, the Keck School of Medicine team will look at whether the stressful process of acculturation plays a role in ethnic Latinos engaging in behaviors that could worsen MS. Acculturation is the process of social, psychological, and cultural change that accompanies the blending of cultures.

Eventually the researchers hope to identify acculturation-related risk factors in multiple sclerosis.

American Hispanics come from diverse genetic and cultural backgrounds. The rationale behind the study is that finding genetic and socio-cultural factors that could affect the development of MS could help advance research in the field, according to a press release,

Researchers will assess whether Asian, Native American, European or African genetic markers in Latinos’ DNA correlate with the severity of their disease. The study will last two years.

The research is being funded by a National MS Society grant. Dr. Lilyana Amezcua of the Keck School of Medicine will be the study’s principal investigator.

In addition to USC, the research will conducted at the University of Miami, University of New Mexico, and the Caribbean Neurological Center in Puerto Rico. All participants will have to visit one of the study sites.

Participants will answer questionnaires about acculturation and the perception of their condition, watch a short film about MS, and provide a blood sample. Researchers will do a DNA analysis of the sample to learn more about participants’ ancestry.

For more information about the study, including how to participate, please contact Andrea Martinez of the Keck School of Medicine at or call 1 (323) 442-6817.

The National MS Society says MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. Research has shown that it occurs in most ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics, although it seems to be most common among Caucasians of northern European ancestry.


  1. ILIA DIJAN says:

    I was born in the Canal Zone in 1950. My parents were native born Puerto Ricans, my father in the army stationed in Panama. In 1990, I was diagnosed with MS, by my Chiropractor after watching me walk. He sent me to a Neurologist, who sent me for an MRI, and found the lesions in my brain and stem. I have tried every treatment available without success … Ocrevus being the latest. I keep looking for news of new treatments. I’m not sure if I meet your criteria, but would like to be considered. I live in Daytona Beach, FL.

    • you are not alone, my son was diagnosed with MS at 21 but I recalled the symptoms at 14yold. He tried all the medication for MS and still progressing he is now stage 2.
      I hope you and my son find a medication that can put the MS in remission for a long time.
      I will keep praying for this to happer

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