Neuroscience

Thresholds found for unilateral optic nerve lesions in MS

(HealthDay)—A new anatomic threshold may be useful for identifying unilateral optic nerve lesions in patients with multiple sclerosis, according to a study published in the May issue of the Annals of Neurology.

Neuroscience

AAN: Oral BTK inhibitor superior to placebo in multiple sclerosis

(HealthDay)—The selective Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor evobrutinib at a dose of 75 mg once daily is associated with fewer enhancing lesions during weeks 12 through 24 among patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

A new culprit for multiple sclerosis relapses

A molecule that helps blood clot may also play a role in multiple sclerosis relapses, researchers report in the May 6 issue of PNAS. The new research may help answer the mystery of why remissions happen, as well as find early ...

Immunology

How stressed-out bacteria may trigger autoimmune response

Stressful life events most likely contribute to autoimmune diseases, but scientists don't have a deep understanding of the underlying chain of events. A study on mice published this week in mSystems suggests that the gut ...

Neuroscience

Fooling nerve cells into acting normal

Nerve cells, or neurons—specifically the "workhorse cells" involved in walking, breathing and chewing—can adjust to changes in the body, but they never stop working unless there is an fatal injury. What exactly signals ...

Neuroscience

Study paves way for innovative treatment of epilepsy

A drug commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis may, after necessary modifications, one day be used to treat patients with epilepsy, researchers in Prof. Inna Slutsky's lab at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School ...

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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.

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