May is Multiple Sclerosis Month – A great time to get the facts about MS
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.
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, its exact cause is still unknown. (Source: www.mssociety.ca)
MS Treatment at the MNI: A Long Tradition
The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (MNI) is home to the oldest MS Clinic in Canada. The clinic has 4,000 regular patients and annually sees close to 2,200 patients, or 18% of all Quebecers estimated to have MS. Patients are seen by a multidisciplinary team of Physicians, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers. MS Patients also participate in on-going clinical studies.
MS Research at the MNI:
There is a lot of exciting and varied MS research at the MNI including clinical activities, clinically related research activities and fundamental research activities. For example:
• Dr. Yves Lapierre, Director of the MS Clinic at the MNI, treats patients and carries out studies on drugs meant to reduce relapse rates of initial MS attacks. Dr. Douglas Arnold, Director of the Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Unit, uses the latest imaging techniques to visualize MS lesions in the brain to understand the effect of treatments. Their research provides a vital component in the controlling of MS.
• Neurologist Dr. Jack Antel examines how the immune system interacts with cells in the central nervous system. Neurologist, Immunologist and Director of the new Experimental Therapeutics Program, Dr. Amit Bar-Or researches the basic properties of immune cells and their involvement in neurological diseases such as MS. Their research could shed light on the cause of MS. Dr. Bar-Or led the phase 1 clinical trial for an MS vaccine that appears to be safe and potentially beneficial for those suffering from MS. The findings were published in the Archives of Neurology in August 2007. The vaccine works by preventing the immune system from attacking the myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Based on the results of this study, a Phase II Clinical Trial of the vaccine is already under way.
• The research of Dr. David Colman, Director of the MNI, 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 and how to promote axon regrowth. Their research may one day reduce the devastating impact of the disease or even help MS patients completely recover.
• 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.
About the MNI
The Montreal Neurological Institute is a McGill University research and teaching institute, dedicated to the study of the nervous system and neurological diseases. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, the MNI is one of the world's largest institutes of its kind. MNI 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. The MNI, with its clinical partner, the Montreal Neurological Hospital (MNH), part of the McGill University Health Centre, continues to integrate research, patient care and training, and is recognized as one of the premier neuroscience centres in the world. At the MNI, we believe in investing in the faculty, staff and students who conduct outstanding research, provide advanced, compassionate care of patients and who pave the way for the next generation of medical advances. Highly talented, motivated people are the engine that drives research - the key to progress in medical care.