MS is the most common cause of acquired neurological disability of young adults in Sweden. There are approximately 17.000 MS patients in Sweden, and the annual number of new cases is about 500. Although the clinical course and the degree of disability are unpredictable, the psycho-social, medical and economic consequences of the disease are often significant. During recent years development in this field has led to new possibilities in making an early and accurate diagnosis, and to the introduction of disease modifying and new symptomatic treatments which has changed the situation for MS patients considerably. More resources have been brought to MS care. Therefore specific MS Centres and multidisciplinary MS teams have been established in many Swedish neurological departments. The very rapid scientific development of autoimmunity, neuropathology, neuroradiology and other fields of neurobiology is primarily responsible for this clinical progress. With relatively short delay new ideas and innovations have been tested in clinical trials and been introduced into MS practice. Swedish MS research is considered to be of high international quality and has contributed to this development. In order to unite resources, clinical and scientific engagements and Swedish MS expertise, the Swedish MS Association was founded in 2003.
Members: The Swedish MS Association is a professional organisation for researchers and caregivers of MS patients. The association includes researchers, neurologists, rehabilitation-clinicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, almoners, speech therapists and psychologists.
Aims: The mission of the Swedish MS Association is to increase the interest and knowledge of MS in the society, increase the possibility for MS research and to achieve an improved MS care. The association should be the proper forum for professional discussions, evaluating new scientific and clinical information about MS, and finally to communicate this to the general public, patients, relatives, caregivers, authorities, and politicians. The association may be consulted in matters concerning MS or may act as a lobbying group for important issues.
Activities: The Swedish MS Association consists of three committees and co-ordinates its activities with those of the Swedish MS Registry (www.msreg.net). The three committees are the Editorial Committee, the Committee of MS Rehabilitation; and the Committee on MS Therapy. The Editorial Committee is responsible for the web-based “Metodboken” (www.mssallskapet.se), which is a practical manual for MS care and for the “MS book” which is aimed towards patients, relatives and the general public. The association arranges at least 1-2 larger annual meetings and may also arrange workshops and education symposia as well as international conferences. The association has the ambition to create a financial base for scholarships and other contributions for MS research. It is also responsible for developing guidelines for MS care, MS treatment and rehabilitation.
Economy: The association is financed by economic contributions from organisations, annual fees from members and advertising fees from companies.