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article imageToronto Hospital to create 'world's leading MS Centre'

By Karen Graham     Nov 24, 2017 in Health
Toronto - On Wednesday, St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada announced the creation of a $30-million multiple sclerosis center that will be the largest and most prestigious on Earth for both patient care and research.
The BARLO MS Centre will occupy the top two floors, about 2,300 square meters (24,757 square feet) of a 17-story tower under construction at the downtown Toronto facility.
The hospital claims to have the largest multiple sclerosis clinic in Canada and treats close to 7,000 patients. It is also home to some of the world's leading MS physicians and researchers. The $30 million BARLO MS Centre is expected to open in 2020, with a focus on personalized care and treatment, as well as applying and generating leading-edge technologies.
"Our goal in creating the world's premier multiple sclerosis centre is to stop the disease and provide the best clinical care and outstanding research," Dr. Xavier Montalban, a Spanish clinician, and researcher recruited to lead the centre said Wednesday in a release, reports CTV News Canada.
Graphic illustration of a neuron
Graphic illustration of a neuron
Ethan Hein
Canada has a higher rate of multiple sclerosis than any other country
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, marked by weakness, numbness, a loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. It is believed MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system destroys the protective covering of nerve cells, called myelin,
Dr. Montalban, who has led the field in the use of new drug therapies that have shown remarkable success in slowing the progression MS, says that three times more women than men come down with the disease, usually striking victims in the prime of their lives, at around 34 years of age, although MS can occur in young children and significantly older adults.
Worldwide, an estimated 2.3 million people have been diagnosed with MS. And while the disease is not contagious or directly inherited, epidemiologists have identified factors in the distribution of the disease that will eventually lead to identifying what causes the disease. The factors include gender, genetics, age, geography and ethnic background.
Untitled
Mikael Häggström
Because Canada has the highest rate of MS than any other country, the disease has become known as "Canada's Disease," with one in every 340 Canadians living with MS. Most victims, 85 percent, have the treatable “relapsing-remitting” form of the disease. But for the 10 to 15 percent who develop the “progressive” variety, there is no treatment yet.
Research has demonstrated that MS occurs in most ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos, but is most common amongst Caucasians of northern European ancestry. There has also been research done that suggests MS may be associated with low levels of vitamin D.
More about St Michael's Hospital, Barlo MS Centre, Toronto, Multiple sclerosis, Canadians