May is Multiple Sclerosis Month


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:

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 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 MNI:

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 MNI, 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 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. The goal of their research is to understand the cause(s) of MS.

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, 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.

MS Information Evening:

Members of the public are invited to a special presentation on the most recent developments and projects related to MS research underway at the MNI.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Keynote speaker:                   

Dr. Amit Bar-Or


6  p.m. to 7 :30 p.m (refreshments provided)


De Grandpré Communications Centre

Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, 3801 University St.

Between 7 - 7:30 p.m.:           

Guided tour of the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre and laboratories

Reservations necessary


The MNI 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. A new building, the North Wing Expansion, is currently under construction and will house state-of-the-art brain imaging facilities. Once the construction is completed and the new building is fully equipped, the scientific community focused on brain imaging research at the MNI will be without equivalent anywhere in the world.


For reservations and information about the event contact:

Josee Della Rocca, MNI, (514) 398-1851, josee.dellarocca [at]

For other information contact:

Anita Kar, Media Relations, MNI, (514) 398-3376, anita.kar [at]

Contact Information

Anita Kar
Montreal Neurological Institute
anita.kar [at]
Office Phone: 
(514) 398-3376