the commonest primary neurological disorder of young adults, especially
in Europe and North America, multiple sclerosis is a public health
problem of considerable significance for individuals and society alike.
Its pathological basis has long been known, yet much of the etiology of
the disease remains to be elucidated. Prevalence of multiple sclerosis
varies markedly with geographical location, onset is generally
insidious, and the course of the disease is largely unpredictable. While
these characteristics, together with possible genetic and environmental
risk factors, provide enormous scope for epidemiological studies of
multiple sclerosis, they also pose appreciable methodological problems.
The respected researchers Dr Sharon Warren and Dr Kenneth Warren have
provided a comprehensive overview of this field of investigation. They
deal with diagnostic criteria, methodological issues, results of
worldwide studies, risk factors and susceptibility, and disease course
and prognosis. Drawing together all of these considerations and
summarizing both what is known and what remains to be discovered about
multiple sclerosis, the authors conclude with insightful suggestions for
future areas of research.