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Multiple Sclerosis - Introduction

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of multiple sclerosis in any one person can not yet be predicted. However, advances in research, diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis are giving hope to those affected by the disease.

There are 2,500,000 people in the world with multiple sclerosis and 350,000 people in the U.S. have multiple sclerosis. Women are affected by multiple sclerosis 50% more often than men are: the ratio of women to men suffers of multiple sclerosis is 3 to 2.

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system in young adults. Scleroses are "scars" such as plaques or lesions in the brain and spinal cord. MS is a progressive disease in which scattered patches of the protective myelin covering of the nerve fibers in the central nervous system (brain and spine) are damaged or destroyed. Inflammation and loss of myelin causes disruption to nerve transmission and affects many functions of the body.

Multiple sclerosis is not contagious. While multiple sclerosis is not directly hereditary, although genetic susceptibility is believed to play a part in its development. Most people with multiple sclerosis are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Multiple sclerosis is rarely diagnosed in people under the age of 12 and over the age of 55.

The most definitive tool for diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) is magnetic resonance  (MR) imaging and a new MR technique called "Turbo FLAIR" in particular. There are no drugs or treatments which can cure multiple sclerosis, but treatments are now available which can modify the course of the disease. Life span is not significantly affected by multiple sclerosis, but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects of multiple sclerosis can be lifelong.

Follow the links below to learn more about multiple sclerosis and new methods of diagnosing and treating the condition: