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Virtua Neuroscience


Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease affecting the central nervous system. A chronic disease, it may be relatively mild or very aggressive, causing loss of motor, vision and verbal skills. It is caused by the loss of myelin, a fatty tissue that surrounds and protects the nerves. The loss of myelin leaves scar tissue (sclerosis). The damaged nerves are unable to conduct electrical impulses from the brain to other parts of the body.

Specific causes of MS are difficult to pinpoint, but may include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Viruses
  • Genetics
  • Environmental exposure

Symptoms of MS
MS symptoms vary widely in number, type and severity. They may be similar to symptoms of other disorders, but they should be but should be taken seriously and reported to a physician. Early symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Color distortion
  • Loss of vision
  • Abnormal sensations such as numbness or “pins and needles”
  • Difficulty walking

Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness and spasms
  • Impaired coordination
  • Loss of sensation
  • Fatigue
  • Speech impediments
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • Change in bowel and bladder function
  • Change in sexual function
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairments such as difficulty concentrating, and memory and judgment problems

Diagnosis of MS can be made by a neurologist through a careful evaluation process. Evaluation may include MRI, spinal fluid analysis and blood tests, as well as thorough physical and neurological exams. Treatment for MS ranges from medications to assistive devices to physical therapy.