Time to get the facts about MS

Canadians have one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the world.

Did you know?

  • Canadians have one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the world.
  • MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada, and every day three more people in Canada are diagnosed with MS.
  • MS is most often diagnosed in young adults aged 15 to 40, but it can also affect children -- some as young as two years old.

MS is an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord that attacks the myelin covering of nerve cells. It can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis. Although most researchers believe MS is an auto-immune disease, the exact cause is still unknown.  (Source: http://www.mssociety.ca)

What's new:


Fingolimod and remyelination (American Journal of Pathology)
A new study led by researchers at The Neuro, indicates that the application of physiological doses of fingolimod, a drug currently in clinical trials due to its anti-inflammatory properties, results in enhanced remyelination in mouse brain slices with associated effects on multiple neural cell types.

B cell roles and effects of B cell depletion in patients with MS (Annals of Neurology)
Results of an international collaborative study led by Dr. Amit Bar-Or identify novel roles for B cells and their influence on T cells in patients with multiple sclerosis, and explains why therapy that removed B cells from patients is associated with less new MS disease activity.

MS Treatment at The Neuro: A Long Tradition:
The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro, is home to the oldest MS Clinic in Canada. The clinic has 2,000 patients with 4,300 visits annually. Patients are seen by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, clinical nurse specialists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers and have the opportunity to participate in numerous clinical studies.

MS Research at The Neuro:
Over 50 staff members at The Neuro are working on MS either in the lab or in the clinic, with the ultimate goal of helping people recover from this debilitating disease. They lead international multidisciplinary programs and are currently involved in twelve clinical studies. The MS team studies the disease from all angles -- brain imaging to the basic biology of nerve cells and the immune response. This combined approach offers the best hope of translating research-based observations into clinical therapeutics and conversely, learning about the disease process based on the response of patients to established and novel therapies.

Dr. Yves Lapierre, Director of the MS Clinic at The Neuro, treats patients and carries out studies on drugs designed to reduce relapse rates of initial MS attacks. Neurologist Dr. Douglas Arnold uses the latest imaging techniques to visualize MS lesions in the brain and to understand the effects of treatments. Their work may lead to avenues for controlling the impacts of MS.

Neurologist Dr. Jack Antel examines properties of central nervous system glial cells, their roles in repair and interaction with the immune system. Neurologist, Immunologist and Director of the new Experimental Therapeutics Program, Dr. Amit Bar-Or researches the basic properties of immune cells, stem cells and their interactions with neural cells as well as the development of novel therapies relevant to neurological diseases such as MS. The overall goal of their research is to understand the cause(s) of MS and contribute to development of safe and effective therapies.

The research of Dr. David Colman, Director of The Neuro, focuses on myelin repair in order to improve signal transmission to the central nervous system. Dr. Tim Kennedy investigates how myelin forms during neural development, how myelin is maintained, and how to promote axon re-growth.  Dr. Alyson Fournier studies mechanisms of nerve cell injury and develops strategies to promote their repair in diseases such as MS. Their research may one day reduce the devastating impact of the disease or even help MS patients completely recover.

About the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital: The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. Neuro researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. For more information, please visit www.mni.mcgill.ca.