July 29, 2015

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis definition

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that involves an immune-mediated process that results in an abnormal response in the body's immune system that damages central nervous system tissues; the immune system attacks myelin, the substance that surrounds and insulate nerves fibers causing demyelination that leads to nerve damage. Because the exact antigen or target of the immune – mediated attack is not known, many experts prefer to label multiple sclerosis as "immune-mediated instead of an "autoimmune disease."

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a disease which causes demyelination of the brain and spinal cord nerve cells. When this occurs, axons (the parts of the nerve cells which conduct impulses to other cells), don't work as well. Myelin acts like insulation on electrical wires. As more areas or nerves are affected by this loss of myelin, patients develop symptoms because the ability of axons to conduct impulses is diminished or lost. The specific symptom that someone experiences is related to the area that has been affected. As demyelination takes place, areas of inflammation and subsequent injury can be identified; these areas of injury are called lesions or plaques and are readily apparent on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies.

What causes multiple sclerosis?

While multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disorder, the exact cause hasn't yet been found. There are many theories regarding the reason that people develop MS; these theories range from vitamin D deficiency to a viral infection. Even consuming too much salt is being looked at as possible cause of multiple sclerosis. However, none of these theories have been proven, and the cause of multiple sclerosis remains unknown. Multiple sclerosis is not a contagious condition and cannot be passed from person to person. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 5/15/2015