Table of Contents
II.Description of Diseasep. 5
III.Epidemiological Informationp. 5
IV.Prevention and Treatmentp. 6
VI.Current Research & Studiesp. 7
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is something that is very dear to me and has great meaning to my family. My mom was diagnosed with MS in 1989 and was progressively getting worse after that. I know personally the troubles and struggles that friends and family must go through when a close family member has MS, as well as the emotional problems the actual MS patient has. After coping with my mother's diagnosis of MS for13 years, I now have to struggle with the repercussions of MS. It can take nearly nothing or, as in our case, it can take everything including your life.
MS is believed to be an autoimmune disease; that is, the symptoms are believed to occur when the immune system "turns against" part of the body. In MS, the autoimmune response causes inflammation and ultimately destruction of myelin, the insulating material that is wrapped around the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. Without myelin, signals transmitted through the central nervous system are slowed, garbled, or blocked and symptoms develop (NMSS: Research, 2001). Multiple sclerosis is a chronic unpredictable neurological disease. MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness. These problems may be permanent, or they may come and go. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. The unpredictable physical and emotional effects continue the rest of their lives. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted, but new treatments and advances in research offer hope to everyone affected by the disease (NMSS: Just the Facts: 2001-2002, 2001).
MS is a modern disease which appeared about 175 years ago. The prevalence has steadily increased from that time. It is important to note that MS is a relatively new disease with the first recorded case being from the beginning of the nineteenth century. MS is basically a "disease of modern times" although it is possible a few cases occurred earlier than 1800. There is no doubt that incidence and prevalence of the disease has been increasing over the last century. Thus the cause of the disease must be due to an environmental factor(s) which is progressively having more effect over the last 100 years (Embry, 1999).
Description of MS
Multiple Sclerosis focuses on the aetiology and pathogenesis of demyelinating and inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system and on the application of such studies to scientifically based therapy (Silberberg, 2001). Symptoms of MS are unpredictable, varying from person to person and from time to time in the same person (NMSS: Treatment, 2003). It is now generally accepted that...