Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the brain and spinal cord that leads to various degrees of disability. The cause of MS is not yet known, however, there is strong evidence indicating that both an inherited susceptibility and environmental factors play an important role in its aetiology.
Tasmania has Australia’s highest prevalence of MS: 75 out of every 100,000 people are affected. At the Menzies Centre for Population Health Research in Hobart, The Tasmanian MS Research Program investigates the factors, both environmental and genetic, that might contribute to the development of MS.
The Environmental MS Study suggests that MS may be caused by an immune disturbance following viral infection and that the timing of childhood infections may be important.
The Genetic Research Program into MS has completed a genome scan for MS susceptibility genes, and is now organising this data for genetic analysis.
More information about the research into multiple sclerosis can be found on the Menzies Centre web site: http://www.menzies.utas.edu.au; and at the MS Society of Tasmania web site:http://www.msaustralia.org.au/tas.