Canada has one of the world’s highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the brain and nervous system. There is no single cause of MS, but researchers were aware that several factors contributed, including genetic susceptibility and immune system anomalies. But environmental factors also play a role. Recent research has identified an important environmental trigger in the development of MS.

Today in The Conversation Canada, Michael C. Levin of the University of Saskatchewan discusses the recent discovery that MS is linked to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a very common bug that causes mononucleosis. In a substantial breakthrough, a 20-year study found adults exposed to the virus were significantly more likely to develop MS. As Dr. Levin explains: “The discovery of the link between EBV and risk for MS is a crucial piece of the MS puzzle, opening up new potential treatments for people living with this condition.”

We also have the latest on the French elections from our colleagues at The Conversation France.


Patricia Nicholson

Health + Medicine Editor

MS is an autoimmune disease in which elements of the immune system begin to damage the brain and spinal cord. (Shutterstock)

Link between Epstein-Barr virus and multiple sclerosis is a crucial discovery for people living with MS

Michael C. Levin, University of Saskatchewan

The causes of multiple sclerosis (MS) are complex, but recent research found Epstein Barr virus, the same virus that causes mononucleosis, is an environmental trigger for MS.

There are few courses or programs that teach men relationship skills from the perspective of healthy masculinity. (Shutterstock)

Building healthy relationship skills supports men’s mental health

John L. Oliffe, University of British Columbia; Gabriela Gonzalez Montaner, University of British Columbia; Mary Theresa Kelly, University of British Columbia

Healthy relationships have a positive influence on men’s health and mental health. Prioritizing relationship skills for men is one way to approach the global crisis in male suicide.

Military personnel walk on the tarmac at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

How would Canada approach the prospect of war?

Paul T. Mitchell, Canadian Forces College

In a world where co-operation has given way to competition and conflict, how will Canada approach the prospect of war?

The pandemic and the aging population are both partially responsible for the current labour shortage. (Shutterstock)

Companies are mitigating labour shortages with automation — and this could drastically impact workers

Geraint Harvey, Western University

With employers struggling to hire enough workers, reliance on automation is becoming more of a necessity than just a source of competitive advantage.

If time travel were possible, it would mean the existence of parallel timelines. (Shutterstock)

Time travel could be possible, but only with parallel timelines

Barak Shoshany, Brock University

Scientifically speaking, for time travel to exist, so must parallel timelines. This theory addresses the paradoxes that arise when studying the possibility of time travel.

Statues grace the covers of history books, museum pamphlets and course syllabi. (S. Ruvalcaba/Unsplash)

Set in stone: Using statue-related metaphors to describe history misses the mark

Grace McNutt, Dalhousie University

The danger in these metaphors is they can subconsciously discourage reinterpretation, which can further contribute to sexist, racist and colonial influence in historical writing.

French Election

Emmanuel Macron on his arrival at the Champ de Mars in Paris. Thomas Coex/AFP

French president Emmanuel Macron wins re-election: a victory with deep challenges

Mathias Bernard, Université Clermont Auvergne (UCA)

Emmanuel Macron’s success validates a strategy aimed at making him appear as the champion of the “progressives”, but it has only partially worked.

Guilliame Horcajuelo/EPA/AP

Emmanuel Macron is reelected but the French are longing for radical change

Romain Fathi, Flinders University

The next five years are going to be harder than Emmanuel Macron’s first term.

La Conversation Canada

Des femmes attendent d'être évacués, après la destruction par l'artillerie de leur habitation, le 21 avril 2022. L’invasion russe de l’Ukraine par la Russie a été un réveil brutal pour les défenseurs du libéralisme. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

L’invasion de l’Ukraine annonce-t-elle un nouvel ordre mondial ?

Arthur Silve, Université Laval; Jonathan Paquin, Université Laval

L’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie révèle au grand jour la nouvelle donne des relations internationales. Elle met à mal le libéralisme, vu comme une panacée depuis la chute du rideau de fer.

Un manifestant tient une pancarte sur laquelle on peut lire «ARNaqueur, voleur, tueur, Pfizer» lors d'une manifestation contre le pass vaccinal et le vaccin contre la Covid-19 devant le siège de Pfizer, à Paris en janvier 2022. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Covid-19 : la désinformation est mortelle, surtout celle véhiculée par les professionnels de la santé

Mathieu Nadeau-Vallée, Université de Montréal

Décortiquer intelligemment des études scientifiques n’est pas chose simple. Cette barrière de compréhension amène certaines personnes, dont des professionnels de la santé, à propager de fausses nouvelles.