Multiple Sclerosis

250.  In MS. and is called demyelination.What is Multiple Sclerosis?  It is an Auto Immune Disease which is when the body starts to destroy itself.  Currently in the US. Plaques block a signal from being passed from the body to the spinal cord and brain. . the body attacks and destroys the fatty tissue called myelin that insulates an axon/nerve.000 people have been diagnosed with MS and there are 200 new cases diagnosed every week.000-300.  If damage is severe it can also destroy the nerve/axon itself.  It is a life-long disease with no cure. White matter is below the top layer of our brain and spinal cord.  MS affects the central nervous system and inflames the white matter in the brain which creates plaques.

the first actual case was first diagnosed in 1849.History of Multiple Sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis. “There are accounts of probable MS dating back to the 14th century but the history of the disease really begins in the 19th century with the first illustrations and clear clinical description of the disease beginning to appear in 1838” (Barnes 16). It was Jean-Martin Charcot who is credited with giving us the first signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. . also known as MS. Even though the previous description. 1421. multiple because of the numerous sites of demyelination and „sclerosis‟ which means scarring. was given its name. that the earliest descriptions were seen. It was in Holland on August 4.

However they have found associations and links between many factors including genetic and environmental.What Causes MS? “Despite extensive research. we still don’t know what causes MS” (O'Connor 8). Genetic Environmental Sex Racial Group Family history Latitude SES Migration Infections .

If a second-degree relative has it. 1. If both of your parents have the disease you have a risk of 20%. Now if someone in your family has MS. Racial Group: “Whites are more than twice as likely as other races to develop MS” ( Hope 2). They also think that this is true because women are in general more likely to have an Auto immune Disease.5%. If your parent. ***Remember that women have a slightly higher risk and that if one identical twins has MS it is not 100% positive that the other twin will have MS due to the environmental factors. you only have a 1% chance of having MS. 30%. and 3-4%.Genetic Factors Sex: Women are more likely to have MS than men by a 2:1 ratio. . brothers. Family History: In a normal population the chance of someone to exhibit the symptoms of MS is only 0.1%. the risk increases. identical twin. or fraternal twin your risks are as follows. Other percentages are if you have a half sister/brother. or sisters (your first-degree relatives) have MS your chance increases to 3%.

MS is more common. It is least common in the lower class and in rural residence. “If you move before the age of 15. or certain herpes. measles. The older you are the higher the risk for MS. The viral infections may include shingles. An idea they also have is the age at which you get the infection. chicken pox. your risk is that of the people in the country you move to. mainly above and below 40° latitude.Latitude: SES: Environmental Factors As you increase latitude. ***Remember that in warm countries. It is five times more likely in these regions. If you move after the age of 15. your risk stays fixed at that of the country you grew up in” (O‟Connor 15). Migration: The age at which you may move may also be an important factor. children contract viruses . These are temperate and cooler climates. Your socioeconomic status can also affect the occurrence of MS. Infection: “They believe MS is a delayed reaction to a viral infection contracted during childhood by a genetically susceptible person” (O‟Connor 13).

What actually happens in the Immune System? “The immune system – a complex network of specialized cells and organs – defends the body against attacks by “foreign invaders such as bacteria. Since MS is a autoimmune disease that persons body does not know the difference between self and non-self cells. the antigen multiples to destroy the invader. viruses. In our body we have different antigens. The bbb is a membrane that surround the brain and allows substances to cross from the blood to the central nervous system. fungi. which cause an immune response. It goes out looking for the invaders and kills them. for different invaders. Some feel that the bbb is breached and some of the immune system defense cross over and cause damage to the CNS. T-cells are also important in the role of MS. When the right invader and antigen met. and parasites” (Hope 3). How do these T-cells know that the cell they are attacking is an invader? Well on each of our cells there are markers that let our immune system know it is our own cell or a foreign body. They help keep the immune system in order and directly destroy the infected or damaged cell. . Another aspect ofthe immune system that they are looking at is the blood-brain barrier (bbb).

• To date there is no diagnostic or blood test for MS. These test are only half of the diagnostic process. evoked potentials. • You can be given one of four test to help the doctor see if there is damage to the spinal cord and brain. and lumbar puncture. • These tests may be able to rule out a viral infection that can exhibit the same symptoms as an MS attack. • Family physician will send you to a neurologist who goes over your symptoms and history.Diagnosing MS • “The most important principle to consider when diagnosing MS is whether the person fulfils the diagnostic criteria on clinical grounds” (Barnes 29). The tests you can take are MRI. . MRS. • Remember that these tests are just as important as a clinical evaluation.

Probable MS: Here the signs are not previously documented and there is one current sign of MS. and Possible MS. Probable. There is also a history of one relapse-remitting symptoms. The age of onset is between 10 and 50 years of age. There are three categories of MS. Possible MS: There is no documented signs of MS and more than one lesion. There is more than one site of lesions.Diagnostic categories of MS • • • “The phrase „multiple abnormalities in space and time‟ sums up what a physician needs to find a diagnosis of MS” (O‟Connor 32). • • . Definite MS: “Consistent course (relapse-remitting course with at least 2 bouts separated by at least 1 month or slow or stepwise progressive course for at least 6 months) of documented neurological signs of lesions in more than one site of brain or spinal cord white matter” ( Hope 7). they have a good recovery and have a history of relapseremitting symptoms. Definite.

of PPMS. • Primary-progressive MS • Progressive-relapsing MS (PPMS): Here you continually (PRMS): This is a rare form decline and have no remissions. go starts with RRMS symptoms into complete or partial and continues on to show signs remission.Courses of MS Listed below are the different paths that MS can take. Here they quick decline which leaves show little progression after the them severely disabled or even lead to death. first attack. • A few patients have malignant MS which is where they have a • 20% of the people with MS have a benign form. then have the symptoms return. • Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS): • Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS): This stage of MS Here you have an attack. attacks. but here it takes a progressive There may be a temporary relief route made worse by acute in symptoms. .

Symptoms of MS • • • • • • • • Fatigue Depression Memory change Pain Spasticity Vertigo Tremor Double Vision/Vision Loss • • • • • • • Weakness Dizziness/Unsteadiness Numbness/Tingling Ataxia Euphoria Speech disturbance Bladder/Bowel/Sexual dysfunction .

Is disability inevitable? As mentioned above there are numerous different paths that MS can take you on. the prognosis in general is not as poor as commonly thought” (Barnes 15). . 5-20% of all patients will develop benign MS. and another 33% will have little to no disabilities allowing them to live independently while not in relapse. “Although MS as a disease is much feared. Only 33% of MS patients will have a severe disability.

Some drugs are not to be taken if you are going to become pregnant.Can I still have children? This question is important to many sufferers. Although there is a brief decrease in symptoms. The thought behind this process is that the mother‟s immune system changes so her body does not reject the unborn child who has a different genetic makeup. are pregnant. Actually during the mothers‟ last trimester there is a 70% reduction in the relapse rate. . be aware of the medication and the effects it will have. there is a similar increase in the relapse rate. Also. It was once thought that women should not have children at all if she was diagnosed with MS. or are nursing. This question is mainly for women though. within three months after the child is born.

Amantadine Pain. Primidone. Pravatine Tremor. Diazepam. and Glatiramer acetate .Codeine.Viagra.Interferon beta 1a and 1b.Antidepressant.Isoniazid. Dantrolene Optic Neuritis.Medications used for MS • • • • • • • Spasticity. Tizanidine.Methlyprednisolone. Oral steroids Fatigue.Baclofen. Aspirin Sexual Dysfunction. Propranolol Disease-Modifying Drugs.

This is also given to people who have definite progressive MS. Side effects include irritation. but is injected just under the skin every two days. and redness at the site of injection and the flu like symptoms.Disease-Modifying Drugs • Interferon Beta 1a (Avonex and Rebif): is a protein that is a replica of human interferon. • Interferon Beta 1b (Betaseron): is slightly different from our own interferon. One side effect of the drug is a flu like symptom. This drug is useful to people who have definite progressive MS. It suppress the immune system and helps to maintain the blood-brain barrier. This medication does the same thing as beta 1a. You inject Avonex into the muscle once a week and Rebif is injected under the skin three times a week. . bruising.

stabilize the disease. It is injected just under the skin every day.Disease-Modifying Drugs (con‟t) • Glatiramer Acetate ( Copaxone): “is a small fragment of a protein that resembles a protein in myelin” ( O‟Connor 106). have manageable side effect. are injected. and tend to be costly. It decrease the reoccurrence of relapse. There is no flu like symptoms but occasional redness may occur at the injection site. • In summary all three of these drugs decrease relapses by 33%. A few amount of people do experience brief shortness of breathe. .

Alternative Treatments • • • • • • • Acupuncture Aromatherapy Cannabis (Marijuana) Chiropractic Cold Immersion Dietary Supplements Herbal Medication • Homeotherapy • Injection of Venom such as snake and bee • Massage • Meditation • Reflexology • Tai Chi • Yoga .

New York.html?d=dmtcontent>. . Merit Publishing International. 2000. Firefly Books Inc. Multiple Sclerosis Questions and Answers. <http://intelihealth.. Multiple Sclerosis The Facts You Need. Dr.Works Cited • Barnes. 1999. 1151/195415. • O‟Connor. Florida. • Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research. 06 April 2003. Paul.

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