MS Research in Norway
Norway presents unique research opportunities because of a high prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) with about 12.000 patients, a government funded, universal health care system, and unique national registries. Alongside this, the Norwegian MS-Registry and Biobank now include about 7.500 patients. The unifying organization of the Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre at Haukeland University Hospital and the MS-Research group at the University of Bergen further strengthen the research environment. The Norwegian MS Competence Centre and Research Group is aiming to enhance diagnosis and treatment through conducting clinical trials, identifying biomarkers, and to further explore the pathology, epidemiology and clinical aspects of MS.
The Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Center and Research Group is located at the Department of Neurology at Haukeland University Hospital. The research group is organized under Clinical Institute 1 at UiB and under the Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre. We have an extensive cooperation with local, national and international institutions, and we have an interdisciplinary structure.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that causes multi-focal inflammatory damage and loss of nerve fiber insulation (myelin) in the central nervous system, with secondary nerve fiber (axon) damage. It is the leading non-traumatic cause of nervous system disability in young adults. Multiple Sclerosis was first described by Jean-Martin Charcot at the University of Paris in 1868. He found, on examining the brain of a deceased patient, multiple scars (sclerae, also known as plaques) that had developed in the white matter of the central nervous system. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is now thought to be an immune-mediated disease, where the insulating myelin and myelin-producing cells of the central nervous system are attacked by the patient’s own immune system. Symptoms vary according to where the lesions occur, as they cause disruption of nerve signals going through the lesion. Specific symptoms can be double vison, blindness in one eye, muscle weakness, ataxia or loss of sensory function. Several risk factors such as Epstein Bar virus infection, vitamin-D deficiency and smoking, along with complex genetic predisposition, have been identified. Still, the reason for MS development is not yet fully understood.