MS affects women two to three times more often than men. Pregnancy has a temporary beneficial effect on MS disease activity in women. Exploring these and other gender-related aspects and differences is bringing new insights about the course of MS and may lead to new therapies.
In 1998, the National MS Society targeted this area to fuel its potential for unraveling the mysteries of MS and developing new therapeutic strategies. In 2003, the initiative was declared to be a success in attracting investigators into this previously underserved area, in generating new data and in resulting in the expenditure of nearly $10 million in new research and training focused on sex-based issues that impact MS.
The Society’s gender initiative, which was funded by a special campaign, generated new information on sex differences in disease course, the immune system, brain tissues, hormonal influences, and response to infection, and significantly increased the body of scientists pursuing these questions in MS.
Gender and MS research studies
- Updated MS Trial Alert: Clinical trial of sex hormone estriol recruiting women with MS to participate
- Learn about currently funded research projects
- Is multiple sclerosis increasing among women compared to men?
- Positive results published on testosterone for men with MS
- Gender differences in myelin; new findings on myelin-targeted antibodies
- New study in mice may help explain MS remissions during pregnancy
- Transmitting MS to children: Possible differences in men and women
- Disputing earlier findings, new study reports men and women with MS transmit the disease equally to their children
- MS Trial Alert: Clinical trial of sex hormone estriol recruiting women with MS to participate
Podcasts and Webcasts
Gender and MS research
Listen to MS researchers talk about the exciting area of gender and MS, and learn about the new directions in research.
MS treatments and childbearing
An interview with Dr. Gary Birnbaum, director of the MS Treatment and Research Center at Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology in Golden Valley, Minn.
Family planning and MS
Learn about the effects of MS on conception and pregnancy.
Pregnancy and MS - Kara's story
Hear one woman's experience with pregnancy and MS.
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