Multiple Sclerosis

Comparing therapies for a rare autoimmune disease

In the course of a study conducted throughout Germany, medical professionals have compared different treatment methods for Neuromyelitis optica, an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. It turned out that the ...

4 hours ago
popularity1 comments 0

Diagnosis before disease breaks out

Many patients with serious diseases are not helped by their medications because treatment is started too late. An international research team led from Linköping University is launching a unique strategy for discovering a ...

Nov 11, 2015
popularity98 comments 0

Fighting over fatigue

In the summer of 1989, Leonard Jason fell ill with the worst sore throat of his life. He couldn't shake it. As the leaves turned red and gold that fall, his energy and weight dropped dramatically, eventually forcing him to ...

Nov 10, 2015
popularity13 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

Functional human liver cells grown in the lab

In new research appearing in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology, an international research team led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem describes a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory. ...

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

New strategy for treating arthritis discovered

Arthritis patients could one day benefit from a novel form of medicine, according to researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Their early study indicates that arthritic cartilage, previously thought to be impenetrable ...