Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The disease attacks the myelin which is a protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system. MS may affect vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. (Source: MS Society of Canada)

Multiple sclerosis is most commonly diagnosed in adults aged 15 to 40 years and women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with it than men. It's estimated between 55,000 to 75,000 Canadians are currently living with this disease.

Surveillance, Data Holdings and Research

Surveillance by the Public Health Agency of Canada

Mapping Connections: An Understanding of Neurological Conditions in Canada

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of 14 neurological conditions studied as part of a suite of projects within Canada's 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.

Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS)

Another component of the Study involved the expansion of PHAC's Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS). The 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, as well as related risk factors, use of health services and health outcomes. The CCDSS was recently expanded to include certain neurological conditions for national surveillance, including MS. The data have recently been released through Open Data.

MS prevalence, incidence and all-cause mortality rates will also be released in the Data Cubes later in 2016.

Research supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)

CIHR has established research priorities to advance safe, evidence-based research and innovation on multiple sclerosis (MS). A number of research projects supported through this investment aim to better understand the progression of MS, identify new potential treatments 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, including the first national Phase1/Phase 2 clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of the treatment for Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) in MS patients.

Data holdings from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has information on MS as part of their data holdings such as the Discharge Abstract Database and the Continuing Care Reporting System. For more information, please visit the CIHI website.

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