Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Multiple sclerosis facts
- What is multiple sclerosis?
- What causes multiple sclerosis?
- Is multiple sclerosis inherited?
- What are the types of multiple sclerosis?
- What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
- How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?
- What are the treatments for multiple sclerosis?
- Interferons for relapsing multiple sclerosis
- Other medications approved for relapsing multiple sclerosis
- How are the physical manifestations of multiple sclerosis treated?
- What are the future directions for managing multiple sclerosis?
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) FAQs
- Patient Comments: Multiple Sclerosis - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Multiple Sclerosis - Causes
- Patient Comments: Multiple Sclerosis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Multiple Sclerosis - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Multiple Sclerosis - Type
- Find a local Neurologist in your town
Multiple sclerosis facts
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease which progressively injures the nerves of the brain and spinal cord.
- Injury to the nerves in multiple sclerosis may be reflected by alterations of virtually any sensory or motor (muscular) function in the body.
- About 350,000 people in the U.S. have multiple sclerosis.
- To diagnose multiple sclerosis, physicians take a detailed history and may use confirmatory tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), spinal taps to check for abnormalities in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or visual evoked potentials (VEPs).
- The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, but it has become widely accepted that genetic, immunological, and environmental factors play a role.
- Multiple drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. These include injectable therapies -- which can be given either as infusions, under the skin, or into the muscle -- or oral agents.
- The selection of drug treatment/therapy should be made after the patient with multiple sclerosis has been properly informed of drug efficacy, particular FDA-approved uses, administration routes, risks of adverse events, and methods to enhance tolerability and compliance.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the nerves of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to degenerate. Myelin, which provides a covering or insulation for nerves, improves the conduction of impulses along the nerves and also is important for maintaining the health of the nerves. In multiple sclerosis, inflammation causes the myelin to disappear. Consequently, the electrical impulses that travel along the nerves decelerate, that is, become slower. In addition, the nerves themselves are damaged. As more and more nerves are affected, a person experiences a progressive interference with functions that are controlled by the nervous system such as vision, speech, walking, writing, and memory.
About 350,000 people in the U.S. have multiple sclerosis. Usually, a person is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis between 20 and 50 years of age, but multiple sclerosis has been diagnosed in children and in the elderly. Multiple sclerosis is twice as likely to occur in Caucasians as in any other group. Women are twice as likely as men to be affected by multiple sclerosis earlier in life.
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