Nicoletta: It’s been suggested that MS could be caused by a viral infection, what’s your view on the cause of MS?
Dr David Rog, Neurologist: So that’s a fundamental question. So I think that from what we understand so far, that the causes of MS, if you like, are a mixture of genetic susceptibility, and I mentioned in one of the other answers, that there are lots of genes having a small effect, if you like, in ways that we don’t completely understand in terms of increasing someone’s susceptibility to develop MS, plus a whole host of environmental factors, and the viral hypothesis has obviously been around for some considerable time.
I think that multiple sclerosis is probably a final common pathway for a number of different triggers in different people that at the moment look very similar, if you like, in terms of how we categorise them, ‘we’ being neurologists. And so, for example, why shouldn’t everybody with MS have the presence of these proteins, oligoclonal bands within the spinal fluid where only perhaps, say, 85% of people with MS currently have them. So I think that underneath the surface, if you like, there’s probably a group of different disorders which we’re currently lumping in as being multiple sclerosis.
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Dr David Rog is a consultant neurologist at the Salford Royal NHS Trust. He gained his MD in liverpool and he completed his neurological training between 2002 and 2006 on the North West rotation at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust and Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre. Dr Rog is the Chairman of the Clinical Research Steering Group at Salford Royal and the Nervous System Theme lead for Greater Manchester Comprehensive Local Research Network.