We learn by studying pattern. We look for obvious first level variables that affect our topic. And digging deeper, we then look for second and third level relationships among variables.
Our topic in this map is the report of symptoms labeled by the medical establishment as Multiple Sclerosis. First, the data behind this map dates back to the middle of the last decade. Second, the identification of MS is suspect in countries with less established medical institutions and is suspect because the symptoms are complex and the label MS is often inaccurate, late coming or non-existent.
At the surface of previous data, it has become strongly held scientific hypothesis that MS is a disease that increases in incidence the further one lives from the equator. The connected variable to the hypothesis is sunlight and the failure of bodies to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Our take using the data representation of this map is that while there is a pattern that increases away from the equator, it appears to align more with where the proliferation of processed foods exceed the consumption of foods with few inorganic ingredients, where industrialization dominates, and where specific genetic chains, originating in Europe, dominate.
As we work as epidemiological detectives, we need to consider statistics that show women experiencing MS at rates up to 3 times that of men, that where one lives through puberty carries the geographic variable of MS more than where people live in later life, and that the availability of excellent global data about MS remains limited.