Multiple Sclerosis News

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system, affecting the spinal cord, the brain and the optic nerves. MS can vary greatly in severity from person to person and can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild problems to severe disabilities.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms typically begin between the ages of 20 and 50.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

Relatively little is known about the cause of the multiple sclerosis. One theory is that genetics makes someone more susceptible to getting MS, but that it's some combination of environmental factors or triggers that often causes the disease to surface. With MS, the immune system attacks the central nervous system, but researchers are mixed on whether it is specifically an autoimmune disorder. Rather, it is often called an immune-mediated disorder. In multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks the myelin, which is a protective covering of nerve fibers in the central nervous system. This disrupts communication with the brain and leads to the symptoms of MS.

Types of MS

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary so widely that the disease is often classified as one of four different “courses”:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS, in which symptoms come and go in flare-ups
  • Primary-progressive MS, in which symptoms are continual and gradually worsen
  • Secondary-progressive MS, in which the disease becomes progressive after a period of being relapsing-remitting MS
  • Progressive-relapsing MS, which is progressive but also includes flares of much worse MS symptoms

Any one of these courses can include the symptoms of MS, such as problems with coordination, balance and walking; fatigue; numbness; vision issues; dizziness; issues with bowel, bladder and sexual function; emotional changes and mental issues; depression; and chronic pain. As MS worsens, it may also include issues with speech, breathing, swallowing and other problems.

Treatment

There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis, but people can often manage the disease through a combination of medications that help with symptoms and various types of therapy, including physical, occupational and speech. Working closely with doctors is the best course of action for finding the right approach for anyone with MS.

SOURCES: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Clues to MS May Lurk in Gut Bacteria

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Scans revealed less brain shrinkage in exercise group

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Breastfeeding and MS Risk

Breastfeeding for 15 months or longer may reduce your risk of developing this chronic autoimmune disease, study finds.

7/12/2017
Breast-Feeding May Lower Risk of MS, Study Says

Benefits reported for women who nursed 15 months or more

6/1/2017
MS-Related Brain Changes May Affect Social Skills

Study might explain why some multiple sclerosis patients stop understanding what others are feeling

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First step was to test its safety in small trial of 6 people

3/29/2017
Ocrevus Approved to Treat Severe Form of Multiple Sclerosis

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3/29/2017
FDA-OK'd Drug Offers Hope to Sickest MS Patients

It's also effective against the most common form of the disease, researchers say

3/8/2017
Controversial MS Treatment Seems Ineffective

No benefit detected after 'liberation therapy,' study authors say

3/1/2017
Scientists Spot Signs That Predict Worsening Multiple Sclerosis

Fatigue, limited leg function tied to progressive disease in study

2/20/2017
Stem Cell Transplants May Help Some With Multiple Sclerosis

Review found younger patients fared better over 5 years, though some deaths reported