EIMS - an epidemiological investigation of risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis

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The aim with the study is to investigate the importance of environmental and life style factors and their interaction with genetic factors for the occurrence and course of multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. The disease is the most common cause of disability in young adults generating large social costs. In the Swedish population, 19 per 10 000 inhabitants has MS. The etiology is largely unknown, but studies have shown that genetic components and environmental factors increase the risk of developing the disease.



The research project EIMS (Epidemiological Investigation of risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis) started in 2004. The study is a collaboration between different institutions at Karolinska Institutet and neurological centers from 38 different hospitals in Sweden.

EIMS is a case-control study, in which newly diagnosed patients and matched controls are asked to give a blood sample and answer a questionnaire. Data from more than 1600 cases and 3200 controls are currently collected. The intention is to continue with the data collection over several years in order to analyse how genes and environment interact.

The data collected in EIMS will provide the basis for research for years to come. New knowledge of heredity and environmental factors in MS will be complemented by other research findings, from both national and international collaborations. We hope that this research can be the basis for new treatments and preventive measures in MS.



EIMS is a multi-center study of 38 neurological units around Sweden collaborating with different research institutions at Karolinska Institutet. The study is part of IMSGC (International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium) and the Nordic MS Genetics Group.


Project group

Principal Investigator

Professor Lars Alfredsson
Institute of Environmental Medicine

Work: +46 8 524 87 488


Professor Tomas Olsson

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, KI

Work: +46 8 517 76 242


Professor Jan Hillert

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, KI

Work: +46 8 585 82 056


Study coordinator Karin Kai-Larsen

Work: +46 8 524 87 478


PhD student Anna Karin Hedström

Work: +46 8 524 874 45


PhD student Maria Bäärnhielm

Work: +46 8 524 87 454


PhD student Emilie Sundqvist


Associate Professor Ingrid Kockum

Department of Clinical Neuroscience

Work: +46 8 517 76 258


Research nurse Eva Johansson