Multiple Sclerosis

What Is It?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system which leads to recurring attacks of neurological symptoms. The deterioration in function is related to something termed "demyelination".

Nerve cells connect to other nerve cells at a distance by way of a long wire-like extension of the cell called an axon. The axon carries an electrical signal along its length to transmit messages from one cell to the next. These can be quite long, carrying nervous system impulses up to feet at a time through the spinal cord and brain. Most of these long axons are myelinated, wrapped in an insulating substance called myelin. The myelin helps the electrical impulses conduct quickly and efficiently down the length of the axon.

In MS, the myelin sheath around some axons in the central nervous system becomes damaged. This damage makes conduction along these axons faulty, slowing or stopping completely, leading to symptoms. These areas of demyelination, called MS plaques, are patchy and can occur almost anywhere in the brain or spinal cord at various times. The specific symptoms that occur depend on the specific location of the demyelination within the nervous system. The pattern and time course of these occurrences varies depending on the type of multiple sclerosis. Most commonly, the demyelination occurs in attacks which then resolve, the symptoms improving partially or completely. Further attacks then occur at a later date.

Follow the links below for more information about types, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of MS.

MS Topics:

  • Cause of MS: Learn more about what causes MS.
  • MS Symptoms: How does MS present? What symptoms does it cause?
  • Types of MS: MS can present in different ways in different patients. Learn more about the various subtypes here.
  • MS Diagnosis: How is the diagnosis made by physicians?
  • MS Treatment: What are the current treatment options for MS?
  • Cure for MS: Is there a cure?
  • MS Medications: Learn about he various types of medications which may be prescribed for patients with MS.

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Important Note: This site is not intended to offer medical advice. Every patient is different, and only your personal physician can help to counsel you about what is best for your situation. What we offer is general reference information about various disorders and treatments for your education.

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