Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Research Updates, Initiatives, and Marketing Friendly Phrases


Children & MS:


- MS is diagnosed in children as young as three years old 

- 45-55 children are diagnosed with MS each year

- A comprehensive study being led by Canadian researcher Dr. Brenda Banwell is shedding new light on the cause of MS and its risk to children

- 89% of general practitioners now consider MS when diagnosing children – compared to approximately 20% five years ago


Quick Facts about MS:


 - Although there is no known cause, MS is believed to be multi-factorial (environmental and genetic).  To date no cure exists.

 - MS is incurable and has an unpredictable course of progression.

 - MS attacks myelin, the insulating cover of the central nervous system.  This results in messages from the brain to the body to be slowed or blocked completely.

 - Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed as men.

 - Canada has one of the highest prevalence rates of MS in the world.

 - Every day three more Canadians are diagnosed with MS.

 - MS can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.       


Since You Asked:


 - The scope of research funded is multi-faceted but with clear purpose: to find a cause and cure for MS, repair nervous system damage caused by MS and stop MS attacks.

 - In 2004 the MS Society of Canada raised over $25 million through one million donors, 120,000 event participants and 100,000 volunteers.

 - The lifetime economic burden of MS is estimated to be $1.6 million per person; annually, $1 billion to the Canadian economy.

 - Canada is a major leader in MS research.  In fact, Canadians raise the highest per capita for MS research in the world.


Genetic Susceptibility:


 - The world’s largest study of MS genetic susceptibility has over 21,000 Canadians enrolled and is made possible through MS Society of Canada fundraising.

- A genetic susceptibility study, made possible through MS Society fundraising events, may lead to the world’s first prevention study of MS.

 - Canadian researchers are examining everything from birth order to vitamin D in a bid to understand this complex disease.    

Desired outcomes:

-         Extend knowledge of genetics/environment

-         Examine MS over time

-         Develop prevention study of MS


Stem Cell Research:


 - The MS Society and related MS Scientific Research Foundation recently announced the funding of $2.25 million to three North American research centres. Their goal: To use the body’s own stem cells to repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis.

 - Canadian led-research is considered among the world’s most progressive. One study, if successful, will the use the body’s own stem cells to repair damage caused by MS. In theory, people with MS could regain losses of physical ability caused by the disease.

 - In essence, researchers will see if there is an "on" switch that can kick-start the remyelination process for people who have MS.


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