Neuroscience

First evidence of immune response targeting brain cells in autism

Autism spectrum disorders affect one in 59 American children by age eight. With no known quantitative biological features, autism diagnoses are currently based on expert assessments of behavioral symptoms, including impaired ...

Genetics

Improving research with more effective antibodies

A new study points to the need for better antibody validation, and outlines a process that other labs can use to make sure the antibodies they work with function properly.

Neuroscience

Team discovers surprise contributor to multiple sclerosis

Cells that scientists have largely ignored when studying multiple sclerosis are actually key contributors to MS development, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine shows. The discovery suggests new ...

Neuroscience

Stem cell transplant reverses disabling MS-like disease

A stem cell transplant reversed a debilitating neurological disease that causes half of the patients to go blind and lose the ability to walk five years after diagnosis. Most of the patients stayed better five years after ...

Medications

Can CBD help lupus and other diseases?

A lupus diagnosis can be devastating. The disease causes the body's immune system to attack its own tissues and can affect internal organs—including the brain, heart, and lungs—which can start to deteriorate. Lupus flare-ups ...

Genetics

Scientists hone in on DNA differences behind immune diseases

Scientists are one step closer to discovering the causes of immune diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis and arthritis. Research from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, GSK and Biogen, under the Open Targets initiative, ...

Health

In a chatty world, losing your speech can be alienating

Sam is a high school drama teacher—articulate, funny, smart. It's an ordinary day and she isn't feeling great, but pushes through. At morning tea, she spills coffee down her shirt; at lunch she notices a strange sensation ...

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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