10 facts about multiple sclerosis
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America recognizes March as multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness month. If you are between the ages of 20 and 40, perhaps now is a time to become more aware of this chronic, incurable disease.
Here are 10 facts about MS
1. Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease in young adults, and afflicts more than 350,000 people in the United States. 2. Early signs of MS include:
- vision problems
- numbness in the face, arms, legs, and fingers
- chronic pain and involuntary muscle spasms
- fatigue and weakness
- balance problems and dizziness
- bladder dysfunction
- cognitive problems
3. MS occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerve cells, leading to diminished functions in the brain and spinal column. 4. Genetic factors don’t seem to play a large role in MS. 5. There are four types of MS, the most common is called relapsing-remitting MS. These patients develop symptoms which respond to treatment and then resolve. Episodes of remission may last weeks to years. 6. Physicians often use imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging to look for signs of injury to the brain and spinal cord. 7. Although most treatments for MS are individualized based on the symptoms of the patient, such as controlling muscle spasms, managing bladder control etc., patients are frequently prescribed medications to help control the immune system. 8. Emotional health is important when battling MS because excessive stress can lead to increases in hormones such as adrenalin and glucocorticoids that negatively impact the immune system. 9. MS was first described by the French pathologist Jean-Martin Charcot 150 years ago. 10. The quest for an MS cure continues. In addition to MS societies and foundations that fund research, the NIH will spend $103 million dollars on MS research this year.
For more information on MS, please visit:
To read about Sanford-Burnham research on mulitple sclerosis, click here.