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Chiari Malformations (CM)(key-Ar-ee—mal-for-May-Shun) are structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. Normally the cerebellum and parts of the brain stem sit in an indented space at the lower rear of the skull, above the foramen magnum (a funnel-like opening to the spinal canal). When part of the cerebellum is located below the foramen magnum, it is called a Chiari malformation.
Syringomyelia (sear-IN-go-my-EEL-ya) is a disorder in which a cyst forms within the spinal cord. This cyst, called a syrinx, expands and elongates over time, destroying a portion of the spinal cord from its centre and expanding outward. As a syrinx widens it compresses and injures nerve fibres that carry information from the brain to the extremities.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, mental illness, and cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases are major contributors to reduced quality of life, loss of productivity, and increased hospitalization and health care costs as well as premature death in Canada. Out of every 5 Canadians aged 20 years or older, 3 have a chronic disease and 4 are at risk of developing a chronic condition.