What Is MS?

By jolene
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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MS (multiple sclerosis) is a condition where the insulating covers of nerve cells are damaged. This process is known as demyelination. This damage negatively affects the ability of the nerve cells to communicate, leading in various issues. It is a condition that can produce significant disability in more than 30% of patients within 20 to 25 years.

The hallmark of MS would the episodes of symptoms that occur periodically with months or years without symptoms. This means that between the “attacks” or “episodes,” the symptoms can disappear completely despite having permanent neurological issues especially when the disease is advanced.

1. Pathophysiology

In MS, the 3 main characteristics are the destruction of myelin sheaths, inflammation, and the presence of plaques in the central nervous system. This condition is believed to be due to a combination of environmental and genetics causing the individual’s own immune system to attack their nervous system. The plaques are most commonly found to affect the spinal cord, basal ganglia, optic nerve, brain stem, and white matter tracts that are close to the lateral ventricles. Since the condition affects the oligodendrocytes that are responsible for the myelin sheath, the loss of this layer results in the inability of the neuron to conduct electrical signals. The inflammatory process in MS is caused by T-cells that are a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell) that in turn, attack the myelin sheath.


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