Multiple Sclerosis

New findings show the impact of ancestry on health

A 'one size fits all' approach to healthcare is being called into question by a researcher at Victoria University of Wellington, who says the immune systems of Māori and Pasifika people are very different from those with ...

Jun 16, 2015
popularity 23 comments 0

New immunoregulation and biomarker

Clinicians at LMU have elucidated a mechanism involved in determining the lifespan of antibody-producing cells, and identified a promising new biomarker for monitoring autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis ...

Jun 12, 2015
popularity 62 comments 0

PET reveals inflammatory cycle in the brain

Neuroinflammation caused by a reactive immune system could be tripping off the neurodegeneration seen in certain dementias, multiple sclerosis, and other deadly diseases of the nervous system. A novel molecular imaging technique ...

Jun 08, 2015
popularity 73 comments 0

Multiple sclerosis (abbreviated to MS, known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata) is an inflammatory disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms. Disease onset usually occurs in young adults, and it is more common in women. It has a prevalence that ranges between 2 and 150 per 100,000. MS was first described in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot.

MS affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other effectively. Nerve cells communicate by sending electrical signals called action potentials down long fibers called axons, which are contained within an insulating substance called myelin. In MS, the body's own immune system attacks and damages the myelin. When myelin is lost, the axons can no longer effectively conduct signals. The name multiple sclerosis refers to scars (scleroses—better known as plaques or lesions) particularly in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord, which is mainly composed of myelin. Although much is known about the mechanisms involved in the disease process, the cause remains unknown. Theories include genetics or infections. Different environmental risk factors have also been found.

Almost any neurological symptom can appear with the disease, and often progresses to physical and cognitive disability. MS takes several forms, with new symptoms occurring either in discrete attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may go away completely, but permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances.

There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatments attempt to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks, and prevent disability. MS medications can have adverse effects or be poorly tolerated, and many patients pursue alternative treatments, despite the lack of supporting scientific study. The prognosis is difficult to predict; it depends on the subtype of the disease, the individual patient's disease characteristics, the initial symptoms and the degree of disability the person experiences as time advances. Life expectancy of people with MS is 5 to 10 years lower than that of the unaffected population.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Marine sponge shows tumour-stunting promise

The research, which has been published in the highly-regarded journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, suggests that peloruside A—a substance produced by the marine sponge Mycale henscheli, found mostly in Pel ...

Heart attack treatment hypothesis 'busted'

Researchers have long had reason to hope that blocking the flow of calcium into the mitochondria of heart and brain cells could be one way to prevent damage caused by heart attacks and strokes. But in a study ...