Well, yeah.............I know what you mean about EAE.
As for the "cause" of MS? I don't think you'll like what my opinion is, but I don't there IS any one cause to be found. I think it is just an intrinsic (probably genetic) screw-up mainly, that is then exacerbated by any number of things that are specific to each individual. Thereby making it literally thousands if not millions of possible causes, not just one at all. And that will be virtually impossible to narrow down.
I think that once someone is known to have a predisposition to CNS problems such as MS, that chemical agents to stabilize the physiological processes of each individual will be always required. MS is like epilepsy or diabetes. There is no cure, but there is stabilization and prevention.
I think I'd have to agree with what you said the ACTRIMS Conference indicated. It's a global condition of the CNS - with lesions only being a tiny part.
Unfortunately, "specializing" in MS research isn't ordinarily a part of a neurologist's training in med school. They have to find and study that as an extension somewhere. And the NMSS IS one of those educational partners. Otherwise, we'd have even fewer MS researchers than we do now. Dr. Moses at Vanderbilt obtained his training in MS from the NMSS.