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Neuroepidemiology with focus on multiple sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system affecting more than two million people world-wide. MS is the second most common cause of neurological disability in young adults. The disease progression varies between patients but often causes different degrees of disability.

In the MS epidemiology research group, we use data from the Swedish MS registry on its own or linked to data from public databases such as Statistics Sweden, National Board of Health and Welfare and Swedish Social Insurance Agency in order to perform epidemiological studies related to MS. Access to these large data collections allows as to conduct research projects into MS outcomes with the aim of describing how MS patients fare over time as regards disease progression, treatment regimens and socioeconomic outcomes. Our studies will hopefully contribute to increased knowledge of factors influencing MS disease and socioeconomic burden of MS with the ultimate ambition of providing the basis for an improved and cost effective healthcare for MS patients.

Our research group consists of molecular biologists, epidemiologists and neurologists.


Selected projects

Basic epidemiology

Incidence and prevalence of MS in Sweden, MS geographical distribution and changes over time in incidence and prevalence of MS

Treatment studies (pharmacoepidemiology)

Patterns of treatment initiation, switch, escalation and discontinuation, types of treatment, adverse effects and treatment efficacy

Health economy and societal consequences of MS

Cost of MS, sickness absence, disability pension, earnings

Clinical course of MS

Progression of disability and impairment in different types of MS, investigations on causes and course of pediatric MS, and factors influencing disease progression


Selected publications

Manouchehrinia A, Westerlind H, Kingwell E, Zhu F, Carruthers R, RamanujamR, Ban M, Glaser A, Sawcer S, Tremlett H, Hillert J. Age Related Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score: Disability ranked by age.  Mult Scler. 2017 Dec;23(14):1938-1946.


Kavaliunas A, Manouchehrinia A, Danylaite Karrenbauer V, Gyllensten H, Glaser A, Alexanderson K, HillertJ. Income in Multiple Sclerosis Patients with Different Disease Phenotypes. PLoS One. 2017 Jan 12;12(1):e0169460.

Kavaliunas A, Manouchehrinia A, Stawiarz L, RamanujamR, Agholme J, Hedström AK, Beiki O, Glaser A, Hillert J. Importance of early treatment initiation in the clinical course of multiple sclerosis.  Mult Scler. 2017 Aug;23(9):1233-1240.


WesterlindH, Stawiarz L, Fink K, Hillert J, Manouchehrinia A. A significant decrease in diagnosis of primary progressive multiple sclerosis: A cohort study. Mult Scler. 2016 Jul;22(8):1071-9

Kavaliunas A, Wiberg M, Tinghög P, Glaser A, Gyllensten H, Alexanderson K, Hillert J. Earnings and Financial Compensation from Social Security Systems Correlate Strongly with Disability for Multiple Sclerosis Patients. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 22;10(12):e0145435. 

RamanujamR, Hedström AK, Manouchehrinia A, Alfredsson L, Olsson T, Bottai M, HillertJ. Effect of Smoking Cessation on Multiple Sclerosis Prognosis. JAMA Neurol. 2015 Oct;72(10):1117-23.

Hillert J, Stawiarz L. The Swedish MS registry – clinical support tool and scientific resource. Acta Neurol Scand. 2015;132(199):11-9.

Westerlind H, Imrell K, Ramanujam R, Myhr KM, Celius EG, Harbo HF, Oturai AB, Hamsten A, Alfredsson L, Olsson T, Kockum I, Koski T, Hillert J. Identity-by-descent mapping in a Scandinavian multiple sclerosis cohort.  Eur J Hum Genet. 2015 May;23(5):688-92.

Westerlind H, Ramanujam R, Uvehag D, Kuja-Halkola R, Boman M, Bottai M, Lichtenstein P, HillertJ. Modest familial risks for multiple sclerosis: a registry-based study of the population of Sweden. Brain. 2014 Mar;137(Pt 3):770-8.

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