Did he have m.s.

I have m.s. I was adopted as a child. Recently I traced my birth mother and was given details about my father who was not married to my birth mother. My father spent periods of ill health from the age of 28 to 52 when he died. He had mental health problems, spending periods in a mental hospital, and he had physical problems. He was never a wheelchair user. I wonder if he could have had m.s. (I am not allowed access to his medical records.)

There’s no evidence it’s hereditary Anon

Sonia x

I’m afraid there’s absolutely no way to tell. This could have been anything. Although MS can cause emotional and behavioural problems, this is relatively rare, and it’s unlikely someone would be committed to a mental hospital, solely through having MS.

Also it would be somewhat unlikely to die of it, if the physical problems were never serious enough to merit use of a wheelchair. In the most extreme cases (a tiny fraction of all of them) it’s possible to die of complications of MS, but this is would be a bit out-of-keeping, in someone whose symptoms were never serious enough to need a wheelchair.

Even though you canot view your father’s medical records, anyone can apply for a copy of a death certificate, as far as I know, on payment of a small fee (I think it used to be £10, but may have risen). Have you done this, and if so, did it shed any light?

Even if it had been MS, it’s not hereditary, as you probably already know. There is a slight tendency for it to cluster in families, which means you would have a somewhat higher risk, compared to the general population, but it isn’t “passed on”, as such. The exact causes remain mysterious, but are accepted as being complex, and not the result of a single gene that can be passed down. Even identical twins are not usually BOTH affected, so the risk from one parent having it is quite small.