Saturday, June 09, 2012

Multiple sclerosis

A disease that is characterized by loss of
myelin (demyelinization).
Abbreviated MS. Myelin, the
... coating of nerve fibers, is
composed of lipids (fats) and
protein. It serves as insulation and permits efficient nerve fiber conduction. In MS, demyelinization usually
affects white matter in the
brain, but sometimes it
extends into the gray matter.
When myelin is damaged,
nerve fiber conduction is faulty or absent, and nerve
cell death may occur. Impaired
bodily functions or altered
sensations associated with
those demyelinated nerve
fibers give rise to the symptoms of MS, which range
from numbness to paralysis
and blindness. People with MS experience attacks of
symptoms that may last days,
months, or longer. For many
patients, the disease is
progressive and leads to
disablement, although some cases enter long, perhaps even
permanent, remission. The
cause of MS is unknown,
although viral activity is
suspected. Most patients are
diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Until recently,
treatment had focused on
preventing attacks. Steroids, interferon, and medications to treat specific symptoms (such
as fatigue, depression, and vertigo ) are standard, along with lifestyle changes to
avoid stress and other triggers. New treatment
options involve immune
system modulation or

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