Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system and can, to varying degrees, interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
Since identification, MS has been the subject of intense, world-wide research but still its cause and cure remain elusive.
Sclerosis is a Greek word meaning 'hardened tissue or scars' and multiple means many.
Recurring episodes of MS can cause many scars to appear in the central nervous system as a result of the breakdown of the myelin, the insulating material that covers the nerve fibres. This can result in impairment of motor, sensory and cognitive functions to a greater or lesser extent.
But multiple describes other aspects of what is often a frustratingly unpredictable disease. Episodes can occur at varying time intervals affecting different areas of the central nervous system. There is no one symptom that indicates the presence of MS. No single test can establish an accurate diagnosis.
It can be benign - in rare cases apparently disappearing altogether after one or two episodes. Or it can progress steadily over many years, bringing about a slow deterioration in an individual's capabilities.
This neurological disorder, now affects over 21,000 Australians, most commonly young women, and costs an estimated $1.04 billion per year; an increase of $380 million since last evaluated in 2005.
Information courtesy of MS Australia.
This disease is being researched in the following projects:
- ANZGENE: The Genetics of Multiple Sclerosis
- Australian MS Longitudinal study (AMSLS)
- Gene Environment Interactions in Multiple Sclerosis
- Identifying a Genetic Basis of Multiple Sclerosis
- MS Longitudinal Study in Southern Tasmania
- PPMS Study
- The Auslong Study of Factors that Contribute to the Development & Progression of MS
- The Tasmanian MS Genes & Prevalence Study (MSPG)
- Vitamin D Gene Set Enrichment Analysis of MS Meta-analysis
- Gene by Environment Interactions in Multiple Sclerosis
- How do Multiple Sclerosis Risk Genes Work?
- Identifying Rare Genetic Variants Associated With the Onset of Multiple Sclerosis
- Multiple Sclerosis - Development of an Australian Gold Standard Health Economics Model in conjunction with MS Research Australia
- The Genetics of Brain Structure and Multiple Sclerosis
- Understanding oligodendrocyte turnover: the key to functional remyelination