MS: What We Know and What We Need to Learn

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease that can affect a person’s mobility and basic body functions. While we have learned more about this disease and treatments, there is much more to know, according to David Hafler, M.D., and Benjamin A. Lerner, a medical student and research fellow at Yale School of Medicine, authors of the latest Report on Progress.

Genetic factors contribute to the development of MS; studies show high rates of disease concordance in twins and other first-degree relatives. Our knowledge of MS genetics has expanded dramatically in the past decade as a result of fundamental advances in human genetics. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS), large case-control studies designed to detect genetic variants that confer modest risk for common diseases, have now identified 194 MS-associated loci that, in aggregate, account for approximately half of the genetic risk for MS. Among these loci there is significant enrichment of genes linked to lymphocyte regulation.

The article discusses environmental factors as playing a role in MS. For more information, please visit www.dana.org

– Blayne Jeffries

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