Neuroscience

A little myelin goes a long way to restore nervous system function

In the central nervous system of humans and all other mammals, a vital insulating sheath composed of lipids and proteins around nerve fibers helps speed the electrical signals or nerve impulses that direct our bodies to walk, ...

Medical research

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease

A temporary tattoo to help control a chronic disease might someday be possible, according to scientists at Baylor College of Medicine who tested antioxidant nanoparticles created at Rice University.

Neuroscience

Researchers find MS drug erases painful memories in mice

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at Virginia Commonwealth University in the U.S. has found that giving fingolimod, a drug normally used to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in people, to mice, caused them to lose ...

Neuroscience

New clues to the origin and progression of multiple sclerosis

Mapping of a certain group of cells, known as oligodendrocytes, in the central nervous system of a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), shows that they might have a significant role in the development of the disease. The ...

Neuroscience

Environmental factors may trigger onset of multiple sclerosis

A new Tel Aviv University study finds that certain environmental conditions may precipitate structural changes that take place in myelin sheaths in the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS). Myelin sheaths are the "insulating ...

Immunology

New immunotherapy targeting blood-clotting protein

Normally, the blood protein fibrin does not enter the brain. But in several neurological disorders, the blood-brain barrier—which keeps large molecules in the blood from entering the brain—becomes abnormally permeable, ...

page 1 from 53

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