Multiple Sclerosis

Protecting us from our cells

Our immune system defends us from harmful bacteria and viruses, but, if left unchecked, the cells that destroy those invaders can turn on the body itself, causing auto-immune diseases like type-1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis. ...

Oct 22, 2014
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Balance impairment in MS involves multiple systems

(HealthDay)—Balance impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) involves constraints across multiple systems and consequently necessitates multimodal treatment, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal ...

Sep 26, 2014
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Scientists show rise and fall of brain volume

(Medical Xpress)—We can witness our bodies mature, then gradually grow wrinkled and weaker with age, but it is only recently that scientists have been able to track a similar progression in the nerve bundles of our brains. ...

Sep 19, 2014
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Yoga relieves multiple sclerosis symptoms, study finds

(Medical Xpress)—Paula Meltzer was only 38 when out of nowhere everything she looked at was blurry. For the single mother, who had a lucrative career as a gemologist and spent hours examining valuable pieces of jewelry, ...

Sep 04, 2014
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Scientists track origins of multiple sclerosis

The autoimmune response that is involved in multiple sclerosis (MS) was once thought to be confined to the brain. Yale researchers, however, have uncovered evidence that this damaging response may begin in the lymph nodes. 

Aug 07, 2014
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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

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