What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system. The immune system attacks myelin (protective covering of the nerves) in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves, which disrupts communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.
It is estimated that more than 77,000 Canadians aged 20 years and older live with MS and that almost three quarters are women.
Please refer to the MS infographic 2018 for further information.
Surveillance and Research
Surveillance by the Public Health Agency of Canada
Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS)
The Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) uses linked administrative data sources from every province and territory to estimate the number of newly diagnosed cases (incidence) and the number of existing cases (prevalence) of chronic conditions. The CCDSS was expanded to include certain neurological conditions for national surveillance, including MS. Data are available through Open Data and the Public Health Infobase.
Mapping Connections: An Understanding of Neurological Conditions in Canada
MS is one of 14 neurological conditions studied as part of a suite of projects within the National Population Study of Neurological Conditions, conducted between 2009 and 2013. The final report, entitled Mapping Connections: An Understanding of Neurological Conditions in Canada outlines the results from the Study, including prevalence, incidence and impact of these conditions and related use of health services. It also looked at potential risk factors for these conditions. Microsimulation models were also developed to project health outcomes and costs of seven neurological conditions including MS.
Research supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)
The Government of Canada, through CIHR, supports advancing safe, evidence-based research and innovation on MS. Research projects supported through this investment aim to better understand the progression of MS, identify new potential treatment options and improve the quality of life of Canadians affected by this disease. CIHR-funded research projects in this area are available through the CIHR's funded decisions database.
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