Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) is a rare, autoimmune, neurodegenerative disease selectively affecting the optic nerves and spinal cord. Relapsing NMO is nine times more prevalent in women than in men and approximately one-quarter of NMO patients have symptoms of another autoimmune disorder (National Institute of Health, 2019). NMO has not been linked to any genetic mutations and the cause of the disorder is unknown beyond the general understanding that the body produces anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies (AQP4) which mistakenly attack cells in the nervous system. NMO affects roughly one percent of that of Multiple Sclerosis (4000-8000 patients total) in the United States, but prevalence rates are abnormally high in a handful of regions around the world, particularly among Latin America, where rates can reach up to 5/100,000 individuals. The results of this study predict that there is a connection between African genetics and NMO, but further studies will need to be conducted in more Latin America nations and other regions to determine prevalence rates as well as genetic analysis of affected individuals.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Medicine
Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences
Zengotita, Brittany M., "A Meta-Analysis of Neuromyelitis Optica Epidemiology in Latin American Nations" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 583.