Background: Compliant members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, Mormons) have a low incidence of heart and lung disease that may relate to their healthy life style. We wished to determine whether multiple sclerosis (MS) was less frequent in this religious body.
Methods: To ascertain this, diagnostic and treatment coding records were accessed from the Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA) for the 6 year period 1997-2002. DMBA is a medical insurance company that provides medical insurance to all employees of LDS Church in the US. This information was combined with prescribing records for disease modifying treatment, principally beta-interferon and Copaxone which are medications specific to MS.
Results: Using various search strategies we derived an approximate MS prevalence of 45-64/100,000.
Conclusion: Comparison with MS rates from Utah and other states of comparable latitude suggest that strict LDS have an MS prevalence that is lower than expected and may reflect their healthy life style.