Sunday, January 3, 2010

Types Of Multiple Sclerosis

The benign type

Multiple sclerosis has a benign type which means that the disease has a slight severity and course. However, calling a case of MS or multiple sclerosis benign is very much misleading because overtime, this disease becomes as disabling as it could get. In fact, in the twenty percent who are given an initial diagnosis of benign MS, only five percent end up actually having the benign type.

The person with the benign type of MS can expect minor or no progression at all after the first attack. Their functions are retained except for short term memory disturbances, cognitive dysfunction and some clear evidence of spinal cord or brain atrophy, which can all be identified via an MRI scan.

The relapsing – remitting type

This type of MS, the relapsing – remitting type, is actually the most common among all of the types of this particular disease. But its name, relapsing – remitting can be also very misleading.

It is during this type that those who have MS experience attacks, otherwise called as exacerbations that are followed with either a complete or a partial remission. This is the part that its classification is misleading.

Multiple sclerotic people oftentimes assume that this remission phase means they have fully recovered. This can be true in some special cases, especially during the first phases of the disorder, but in most cases, this remission is actually just a partial one. Do not be misled by this classification’s name because what are usually left are permanent residual MS-related symptoms.

The secondary – progressive type

This type starts with the relapsing – remitting type which usually persists for several years. After that timeframe, it is time for the secondary – progressive type to show what it is made of.

It is a chronic and progressive form of the disease that usually occurs in the disease’s second stages. Unlike the relapsing – remitting type, there are no true periods of remission, but only some breaks in the duration of attacks that has absolutely no recovery from the symptoms. Although there could be some minor relief for a couple of symptoms, recovery is never attained.

The primary – progressive type

This type is very common in the male population. It is when the person with MS gradually experiences a clinical decline and has no true durations of remission. However, there could be a temporary time where the disorder seems to plateau or level out, including a partial but minor relief from a few symptoms. But still, the whole course of this type continuously declines starting from the disease’s outset.

The progressive – relapsing type

This type is a rare form of MS. What happens here is that the disease has a progressive form that starts from its outset with a series of acute attacks that has no relief from the obtained symptoms. Unlike the primary – progressive type, this type has no tendency to plateau.

The malignant type

Aside from being called malignant, this type is also referred to as Marburg variant. It has an aggressive phase. It is a fortunate thing that this type is a very rare type because it is very aggressive. It has a quick and relentless decline to a very significant impairment, or even death. This type usually occurs after several weeks of the onset of the first attack.

The chronic – progressive

This type is indefinite of MS. However, this term is also associated with a collective diagnosis of progressive – relapsing, primary – progressive and secondary – progressive.

What Multiple Sclerotic People Should Avoid during Christmas

It is a known fact that amidst the Christmas gift-giving and delicious food, the holidays can oftentimes be fairly stressful. Aside from having to personally and actively participate in a number of festivities, it also a must to consistently behave in a festive attitude. Moreover, such event could be even more stressful for those who have multiple sclerosis. The disease’s symptoms and the holidays just do no jive.

In short, if having an active jovial personality for everyone to see during the holidays is not a usual thing, especially with a debilitating disorder, then expect a lot of stress. However, stress is a common accompaniment of the holidays. Christmas time is just not complete without it. There has to be a rush whenever it is time for Christmas shopping, falling in those long lines, having to wrestle items with someone else who claims he or she saw that thing first. The holidays are basically stressful.

This is why sometimes some people get offended because of a case of misunderstanding. And face it; no one wants to have an enemy or someone loathe you during Christmas season. So for those who have multiple sclerosis or MS and are usually left stressed out during the holidays, here is a list of what must be avoided to avoid getting overstressed.

Avoid crowds.

One of the worst symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis is the cognitive dysfunction. This means that communication is not an area a person with MS could excel in. They cannot easily keep up with a certain conversation regardless of who the conversation is with, but especially if there are more than two people who are conversing. With this said, it would be near to impossible to see people with MS randomly chatting with unfamiliar people because of the jovial atmosphere.

To avoid getting stressed out, at the same time still enjoy the company of other familiar people during Christmas season, people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis should just avoid attending parties if most of the attendants are unknown, and also finding corners within a room where a more quite and intimate conversation can be done.

Avoid unnecessary noise.

Another symptom with MS is the inability to keep a steady train of thought, especially if the noise is too much to take. This means any loud music, the TV playing at high volume or people shouting and cheering. These kinds of environment are the ones that the people with MS should be avoiding.

Think of the risk for infection.

Those with multiple sclerosis are not hypochondriacs, who, in turn, are people who are very paranoid about getting sick. But still, since the immune system is at its lowest, then the risk for infection is high.

Of course, they cannot be locked inside their own homes. Despite the fact that they have MS, they also still have a life to live. They also do not have to act like astronauts in wearing all that protective gear. What they have to avoid are febrile illnesses such as the flu. With today’s pandemic, the H1N1, people with MS have to be extra careful.

To avoid getting such life-threatening diseases, immunocompromised people with multiple sclerosis should make sure that they get the necessary vaccines ahead of time. Also, places that have sick people must be avoided. This does not only mean hospitals or clinics. This also means houses of family or friends who house a sick person like someone who caught the flu.

The History Of Multiple Sclerosis

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is believed to have been discovered over many centuries ago. Since then questions have been raised but it is only now that they are actually answered.

After numerous research and many series of studies have been done with regards to multiple sclerosis, it has been found out that multiple sclerosis is one of the diseases affecting the nervous system that are usually experienced by the people.

More about its etiology

This disease affects people belonging to all ages from all walks of life, with a preference towards young individuals. According to statistical research, the women are the most common carriers of this disease, especially to those who reside in the northern parts of the globe.

It has been found out due to research that multiple sclerosis has a genetic susceptibility. However, it is not directly inherited.

Moreover, since this disease predominantly affects the nervous system, neurological symptoms are being manifested. Such symptoms include paralysis, walking problems, loss of vision and numbness. These symptoms are often diverse, extremely confusing and patternless. This makes it even more difficult for a definite diagnosis.

These symptoms occur because of abnormalities in the nervous system due to the inability to transmit or the incorrect transmission of signals. A fatty substance that surrounds and acts as an insulator for the nerve fibers is called myelin. It is the myelin that the nerves need in order to correctly conduct the necessary amount of electricity for the body’s normal functioning. However, in multiple sclerosis, the myelin is damaged.

As an autoimmune disease, the body’s own cells and proteins attack its own kind, failing to recognize it as self. The immune system naturally attacks foreign bodies, but since multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder, the body’s very own cells attack its own healthy cells and tissues.

Its early years

Back in the 19th century, people would only listen and believe to hearsay, superstition and the wisdom of the elderly or those who normally take care of whoever was sick. Medications were never tested, and physicians mainly depended on their observing skills for a definite diagnosis. However, upon looking at their journals, it could be derived that they were indeed correct in diagnosing such cases as multiple sclerosis because the information written certainly leads to such disease.

In the 19th century, specifically 1838, there were already drawings of patients who had multiple sclerosis. Although the physicians back then did not have a full understanding of multiple sclerosis and what the disease could lead to, the drawings clearly indicate and who what is today known as multiple sclerosis.

Its detailed discovery

It was a professor named Jean-Martin Charcot who discovered all about multiple sclerosis. It was 1868 and he was a professor of neurology specifically at the University of Paris during the time. He has been given the tag “father of neurology
because of his many contributions to the world of neurology.

It has been recorded that Professor Charcot got to observe a woman who had tremors which were very new to him. Aside from the tremors, he also saw other neurological symptoms such as abnormal movements of the eyes and blurring of vision. Since the medicine back then was far from being advanced, his patient died. During the autopsy, he found out that her brain had plaques or scars that doctors now know are characteristic of multiple sclerosis.

The Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale And Multiple Sclerosis

What is this scale?

The Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale, otherwise known as the EDSS, is a famous way of quantifying how much is already disabled in a person with multiple sclerosis. This tool replaced the Disability Status Scales which did as much as grouping people with multiple sclerosis.

The Kurtzke EDSS enumerates the disabilities associated with MS or multiple sclerosis according to the established eight functional systems. This then allows many neurologists to allocate a specific functional system score in each. The functional systems are as follows: pyramidal, cerebellar, brainstem, sensory, bowel and bladder, visual, cerebral, and others.

The Kurtzke EDSS gives two distinctive classifications to two different types of damage due to multiple sclerosis, depending on the severity of the disease’s symptoms. For instance, grades 1.0 up to 4.5 mean people who have multiple sclerosis but are fully ambulatory. On the other hand, those who are graded 5.0 up to 9.5 are those who are impaired in their ambulation.

Its discovery

Dr. Kurtzke established this useful scale back in August of 1955. The scale he discovered was initially called the DSS, which evaluated the impairment associated with MS based on a ten-point scale. And then it was in 1983 that Dr. Kurtzke discovered the EDSS. This latest tool became more famous and much more useful because it could evaluate MS-related impairment in all of the main neurological areas.

Even though the EDSS is not so sensitive when it comes to assessing temporary changes in the person’s level of consciousness, this tool is immensely utilized for not just national but also international tests in evaluating just how effective a certain therapy can be.

The EDSS is predominantly built for assessing the person’s ambulation and not cognition, fatigue or the functioning of the upper extremities.

Its FS Scale

The FS scale or the functional systems scale is important to the EDSS since it assesses and evaluates the seven parts of the central nervous system which have the ability to control the normal functioning of the body. For instance, those who can function normally are graded 0 while those who are unable to finish the assignment are given the grade of 6.

The FS scale of the EDSS is important for those people with multiple sclerosis but can still ambulate since it evaluates where a certain person may have some disability or difficulty.

According to many research findings, the Kurtzke EDSS and a certain scale for the ADL's or activities of daily living have a symbiotic relationship towards one another. Together, these two scales are able to assess the amount of disability that occurs in multiple domains of functioning, all depending on the person’s subjective report of any of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Although the EDSS is the standard way of finally assessing the amount of disability and impairment, it is still greatly criticized for the putting far too much focus on the use of the lower extremities or the legs and not much attention to the general clinical change.

What are used?

In evaluating the disease status, MRI scans are used by the physicians. However, such diagnostic test is not so correlational with the outcome of the disease, since in multiple sclerosis, majority of the lesions are not seen via the MRI scan. Some even do not have symptoms that can be clinically detected.

Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis With No Side Effects

Many of those who already have multiple sclerosis are very strong in trying different new modes of treatment. For example, for each of the twenty-nine days with a person, the person gives a certain thing to whomever would listen. Others would heartily give information and gratitude or thanks, those who have MS or multiple sclerosis give out their support.

After the full length of twenty days, those who had MS actually had a better time and the disease’s symptoms were greatly reduced.

None for those who are verbal with the test’s possible results might scoff and leave them to know that it was only very scientific, despite the fact that he was a trained scientist who only feels bad. In fact, he has established some cures that involve chocolate, sleeping early and pedicures. The aforementioned activities can be assumed to be well with fighting.

The 29-day Challenge

It is the perfect time to do such challenge. Since Christmas time is the time for the other to stop and think about the others, frantic practices are still present to try and make things have a perfect response to everything. Also, it is nice to have some one who is sick to have him or her completely announce any inspiration for me.

In some cases, you might purchase something for him where others would have to percent a lot of message. In fact, people have tried dipping pretzels in chocolate and some sprinkles and then being given to aunts. Another thing that people can experience is reading an extra book or publication. It is because of this extra work that dishes had to be washed and told everyone a plan had to be worked out.

Even though others might not have felt or experienced this kind of problem, there are those who finalize whether others have any results to report or not. There is also a portion that finds out if the warm fuzzes being experienced are just associated with his learning. Others might scoff and state that this challenge is very unscientific.

Drugs: Steroids

Corticosteroids or steroids are mainstay treatment aimed at relapse – remitting multiple sclerosis. But others destroy those who are under examination who give out tests that test the diction of someone. And that a high dose of methylprednisolone is done on purpose for those who have a major relapse of multiple sclerosis.

What do steroids do?

These steroids decrease the inflammation within the central nervous system and also help in suppressing the attack on the myelin. In fact, it may also do good in improving the normal electrical conduction.

However, steroids do not improve the disease’s long-term part. In fact, in the long run, steroids might lose its effectivity once it is overused. And there is always an accompanying tendency with steroids to be overused by most since they are not merely there for maintenance treatment.

What does research say?

There are research findings that indicate that there is a potential benefit when it comes to using methylprednisolone via the intravenous route. This kind of administration is done regularly for five days every four months for as long as three years. Afterwards, it will be done for six months for as long as two years.

There has to be more evidence before finally including steroids in a prescription because steroids can have some adverse effects that could be very life-threatening once the drug is used overtime.

Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis affects the CNS.

The central nervous system is the one that controls most, if not all, of the body’s activity and optimal functioning. Just a minor damage to the central nervous system or the CNS can produce a very wide range of symptoms. Multiple sclerosis is only one of the diseases that can result from the damaging of the central nervous system.

Most of the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis are very unique. But having one of the symptoms does not immediately lead to the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, there has to be a collective onset of symptoms. Still, however, each and every one of these symptoms could be very life-threatening and deserves medical attention as soon as possible.

Visual symptoms

Optic neuritis is one of the multiple sclerosis symptoms that affect the person’s vision. It consists of an inflammation with an accompanying demyelization of cranial nerve number two which is the optic nerve. There is a blurring of the vision, loss of some, if not all, of the visible color, loss of visual acuity, complete or partial blindness, and its pathognomonic sign which is pain behind the eyes.

Another visual symptom is diplopia, which is only a medical term for double vision. Lesions that occur within the brainstem cause this double vision. It is unfortunate for those with multiple sclerosis that the brainstem is affected because it is where the cranial nerves for eye muscles are located, specifically the sixth cranial nerve or the abducens. In multiple sclerosis, the nerve that operates the lateral rectus muscle is affected, thus, pulling the eye outwards.

Nystagmus is yet another visual symptom associated with multiple sclerosis. It is the rapid and involuntary movement of the eyes. This symptom is predominantly obvious to others but is not immediately noticeable by the person with the complaint. It is like riding on a bus where the scenery just zooms past by.

Motor symptoms

Multiple sclerosis causes paresis within the individual. It is simply a medical term for partial or mild paralysis that is usually described as muscle weakness. According to research and studies, this muscle weakness is caused by the lesions that are formed along the motor nerve pathways.

Spasticity is comprised of involuntary muscle contractions that are not coordinated with the movement of the other muscles. In multiple sclerosis, the normal pattern of reverse contractions that occur between muscles is disrupted, which further leads to the contraction of many muscles at the exact same time. Since the transmission of sensation and control messages are not properly sent to the receiver, the muscles receive information and sensory feedback that is not at all appropriate.

Dysarthria is the medical term for speech problems. In multiple sclerosis, the muscles that are involved in controlling speaking or the nerves that control the corresponding muscles are destroyed. The resulting muscle weakness and incoordination give rise to dysarthria.

Sensory symptoms

Paresthesia is described as a collection of abnormal sensations in just about every part of the body. It is composed of prickling, tingling, electrical-type buzzing, skin crawling, burning, or itching of any random part of the body. Paresthesia is most commonly referred to as pins and needles with the accompaniment of partial numbness and a variety of neuropathic pain.

Another sensory symptom associated with multiple sclerosis is the L’Hermitte’s sign. This is basically the electrical buzzing sensations that occur in the limbs and the body that is brought about by any movement of the neck. When the person with multiple sclerosis lowers the head part in a way that the chin touches the chest, L’Hermitte’s sign is triggered.

Teenage Obesity and Multiple Sclerosis

There are some researches that say that female teenagers who happen to be obese have a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis as compared to those who are not obese. The research had two hundred thirty-eight thousand and three hundred seventy-one female respondents who ranged from twenty-five up to fifty-five years of age. They filled out a questionnaire regarding their corresponding behavior towards their health every couple of years. In over forty years, five hundred ninety-three of these respondents developed multiple sclerosis.

The respondents

The respondents reported their exact weight and height at the age of eighteen. The research scientists then computed for their BMI or their body mass index. They were also told to choose from nine different kinds of silhouettes, from extremely thin up to extremely obese, in order to have a general description of their body size at five, ten and even twenty years old.

The findings

It was through this study that it was concluded that females who had a BMI of thirty or more at eighteen years old had more than two times of a risk for developing a case of multiple sclerosis, as compared to those who had a BMI of nineteen to twenty. Those who had a BMI of twenty-five up to twenty-nine were already considered as overweight while those who were obese had a BMI of thirty kilograms per squared meter.

For those who had a bigger body even though they were just twenty years old represented the purpose of having to use the silhouettes as tools in the study. Aside from that, they were also the ones who represented those who had a lot of risk for having MS. However, for those girls who were very large at five or ten years old is not at all related to the risk of multiple sclerosis development.

Famous professor from the Harvard School of Public Health Kassandra Munger, ScD have stated that the results of the study indicate that weight pays such an important role in the development of MS in adolescence, as compared to that of childhood and adulthood. This means that teenagers have to be taught about preventing the onset of obesity from the very start to reduce the risk of having multiple sclerosis later.

The conclusions

Professor Munger states that there are two most likely statements that could explain why obesity pays a very important role with regards to risk of having multiple sclerosis. According to what she has found out in scientific and medical research, the high levels of Vitamin D inside the body greatly reduce the risk. But obese people have very low levels of Vitamin D.

Another possible explanation is that adipose tissue gives out material that can greatly affect the immune system and some types of cellular activity that are thought to be associated with multiple sclerosis.

The MS diet

Many forms of diet claim that they can reduce obesity, which, in turn, has a big possibility of precipitating the disease. Nutrition is a good way of preventing or avoiding the development of multiple sclerosis.

For instance, many of those who have MS have testified that eating food rich in gluten makes them feel terrible. Although, there are still no scientific findings to back this up, many depend on these testimonies.

The Clinical Part Of Multiple Sclerosis

What is MS?

MS is a short term given to a debilitating disease called multiple sclerosis. This disease is very unpredictable and can actually range from benign to something that was highly devastating. This is so because the communication pattern that normally occurs between the brain and the rest of the body is greatly damaged.

According to scientific research, MS is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s immune system launches an attack against its very own underlying tissues and cells. In multiple sclerosis, the part that is most affected is the myelin.

The myelin

The myelin is a sheath that covers the nerve fibers in order to protect it. Aside from protection, it also acts as an insulator. It is the myelin that is directly attacked in a case of MS.

Many have released reports saying that assaults to the myelin are triggered by environmental factors like a kind of bacteria or virus.

About its onset

Most of those who complain with multiple sclerosis belong to the age group between twenty and forty years old. They initially complain of double vision, blurred vision, blindness in one eye or both, and also a color distortion between the reds and the greens. Aside from visual disturbances, there are also muscular disturbances such as muscle weakness in the person’s extremities, accompanied by difficulty in balance and coordination.

The muscular symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis may vary in severity. For instance, some cases could be severe which often render the person have a permanently impaired walking. In fact, some are even unfortunate to even have their balance by just standing impaired.

In a worst case of MS, the person is left with either partial or complete paralysis that is accompanied with paresthesia. This accompanying symptom is basically the abnormal feelings of sensation usually along the extremities. The extremities would feel numb and prickling like as if a there are a thousand pins and needles.

In other cases of multiple sclerosis, those who are with complaint experience pain. And pain is a subjective matter. Therefore, if they say it is painful, then it must be truly painful.

People with multiple sclerosis also experience speech impairments, dizziness and tremors. The recently mentioned symptoms are the ones they usually complain of. Occasionally, these symptoms are accompanied with hearing loss and impairments with the person’s cognition. With this kind of problem, the person will definitely have a hard time with concentration, memory, judgment and attention.

Treatment for MS

As of now, there still has been no discovery for an effective cure for multiple sclerosis. Research has been continuous and the findings have remained very consistent. However, no cure still has been established.

Some people actually prefer not to take any MS therapy, since several of the medications for multiple sclerosis have some serious side effects which pose high risks. An example of such medication is the Beta Interferon.

There are three famous brands of the aforementioned drug, namely, Rebif, Avonex and Betaseron. These three drugs have already been approved by the FDA or the Food and Drug Administration with regards to the use of those with the relapsing – remitting type of multiple sclerosis.

Not Everyone With Multiple Sclerosis Is On Treatment

Why treatment is considered a must

Having multiple sclerosis types such as relapsing – remitting, progressive – relapsing and secondary – progressive means that a doctor must be consulted as quickly as possible since taking or undergoing of disease –modifying treatment is a must at this point.

Even though there are no exacerbations, or painful and unmanageable symptoms or a present hate of needles, a physician must be consulted right away. Despite the fact that MS-related drugs have some side effects and are oftentimes inconvenient, they are still very helpful in reducing the risk for relapses and can even decrease the severity of disability for most.

However, some of those who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis choose not to undergo treatment. In a certain study that focused on the patterns of prescription of all of the MS drugs that are known to modify the disease process and its progression, ninety-two percent visit doctors while sixty-percent opt not to have therapy.

Common assumptions

There are some costly fees associated with private insurance that seem to deter them from having therapy.

There are those with only mild symptoms, more likely in the first stages of the disorder, and choose to postpone treatment. It seems like they would want to see first what happens if they do not accept treatment. In other cases, the doctors are the ones who advise their patients to delay having therapy, especially if the symptoms are only mild in severity.

In some cases, both the patient and the physician want to see first the results of a new medication.

Most of the time, those with MS just do not take treatment simply because they do not fully understand the pros and the cons of having or not having it. Some patients are also told by their corresponding doctors not to have treatment because they do not fit for the criteria for taking the certain treatment modality.

The many differences in the patient-physician communication can limit the uptake of the treatment.

Some doctors believe that the suitability of the medications can halt them from giving drug prescriptions. What the doctors know regarding internal organizational policies and rules about using drugs related to multiple sclerosis therapy may also halt them from openly prescribing such medications.

Dislike of needles

People diagnosed with multiple sclerosis are usually scared of needles. Actually, they are probably afraid of needles even before their multiple sclerosis onsets. It is a known fact that this part is definitely no fun.

None of the drugs for treating multiple sclerosis can be taken per orem, which means orally. This means that they have no other choice but to endure an intramuscular, intravenous or a subcutaneous form of the drug.

The drug’s side effects

In most cases, people just hate taking drugs. This is usually because they are afraid of the side effects that may occur. This fear is explainable and understandable but emphasis should still be given to older MS drugs such as Copaxone, Avonex, Rebif and Betaseron since they are all safe to take.

When in doubt about a certain drug, neurologists can be consulted since they are knowledgeable on which treatment methods fit a certain type of lifestyle. Also, they can provide some tips regarding the management of side effects.

Pathophysiology Of Multiple Sclerosis

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that is non-contagious. It predominantly affects the brain and the spinal cord. It is mainly characterized by a wide variety of neurological symptoms that are caused by the demyelization of the neurons. Moreover, it is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s very own immune system attacks the central nervous system’s cells and underlying tissues.

What causes it?

The ultimate cause of multiple sclerosis remains unknown. This means that multiple sclerosis is an idiopathic disease. According to scientific research, some viral infections or other environmental factors related to childhood are able to trigger the abnormal reactions associated with the immune system.

On a molecular level, a structural similarity can be discovered between an infectious agent that is not identified and some components of the central nervous system. This similarity causes confusion in the immune system’s fighter cells when the body matures later as the body ages. This whole process is termed as molecular mimicry. And since there is no such thing as a multiple sclerosis virus, it can be declared that the disease is not at all contagious.

Where the WBC come in

The body’s white blood cells, more commonly referred to as WBC, have a special subset of cells termed as T cells. These T cells are key players in the development of multiple sclerosis. Normally, these lymphocytes have the ability to differentiate substances or components that belong to the body from those that are foreign. Whenever a foreign body is recognized, the whole immune system is put on alert and the body’s fighter cells attack the foreign body to maintain homeostasis within the body.

However, since multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, it tends to attack itself. The T cells recognize the healthy parts of the central nervous system as something harmful and foreign and attack them as if it is a response aimed at a virus or bacteria.

The T cells attack predominantly attack the myelin which insulates the axons of the nerve cells. This fatty substance is very important, especially when it comes to proper nerve conduction.

About the BBB

There is a normal barrier that goes between the blood and the brain that medical professionals have coined as the blood-brain barrier or the BBB. This BBB is made up of endothelial cells that line the blood vessel walls.

It is during multiple sclerosis that the BBB breaks down and the auto-reactive T cells enter the BBB, when they are clearly not supposed to. After crossing the BBB, the T cells then trigger an inflammatory response that is further mediated by other immune cells namely the cytokines and antibodies. After further inflammatory responses, there is a much bigger opening of the BBB and a wide variety of symptoms are produced.

Moving on, the macrophages are alerted, there is an activation of the MMPs, including other proteases. In short, this all leads to the destruction of the myelin, a process that is termed as demyelization.

Stem Cell Therapy Reverses Multiple Sclerosis

In such a long time, it is only in this century that most of the impairments associated with the initial stages of multiple sclerosis can be reversed. This works by resetting their immune systems by making use of their very own stem cells.

Still, this kind of treatment is being further observed which necessitate some randomized clinical testing in order to confirm the test’s findings. However, this stem cell therapy is a good thing so that those who are still in the first stages of this disease can still have hope despite not having to undergo its drug regimen.

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is actually an autoimmune disorder that predominantly affects the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is basically made up of adipose tissue and it is wrapped around the nerve cells serving as a protective covering. Also, the myelin helps in speeding up the speed or the rate of the transmission between the brain, as it sends its signals, and the rest of the body. In MS, it is this myelin sheath that gets damaged.

What is best with treating MS is to immediately stop the attacks before there is further nerve cell impairment. And since MS is an autoimmune disease, this intervention is a definite must.

Stem cell treatment

A study was actually done regarding stem cell therapy and multiple sclerosis. The respondents were made up of twelve ladies and eleven gentlemen, who all had an early onset of the relapsing – remitting type of MS. These respondents were chosen since their system failed to positively respond to interferon beta treatment, even after half a year.

Stem cells were removed from these respondents, specifically from their bone marrow. Afterwards, chemicals were used in order to destroy the already present immune cells inside the person’s body before preparing to re-inject the stem cells. The re-injected stem cells will progress into what are called “na├»ve” immune cells which do recognize the myelin as self.

After three years of consistency in the treatment, seventeen of the overall total of respondents actually had an improved status on a standard disability scale. Moreover, none of the respondents died.

Reverse disability

Medical scientists say that this is the first time that reversing the disabilities associated with multiple sclerosis has actually been accomplished.

Although researchers admit that further testing is needed to confirm findings, but there is nothing to worry about because such tests are underway. Eventually, all thanks to stem cell transplant, those with MS are not forced to take drugs. Moreover, transplanting stem cells is a good thing for most since it is a one-off therapy.

Word from MS Society

Speakers from the MS Society have actually praised stem cell transplant for its positive results. Aside from stopping the debilitating disease from further progressing, the damages to the nerve conduction are also reversed.

At present, the potential of stem cells are become more and more recognized by many in the medical field. The only challenge relating to stem cells that remain is proving just how effective their transplantation is to big groups of people.

More Information On Multiple Sclerosis

What is it?

Multiple sclerosis, or otherwise known as MS, is actually a disease that affects the nerves of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. In MS, the central nervous system starts to degenerate.

Myelin, which is the protection and insulation for the underlying nerves, is damaged in MS. Since it is responsible for the correct transmission of messages and conduction of impulses that goes along the nerves, any form of damage to it will render the nervous system useless as it may no longer have any control over the entire body. The inflammation associated with MS cause the disappearance of the myelin, leaving the nerve fibers open and completely unprotected.

It is a sad consequence that the electrical impulses being sent along the nerves begin to decelerate and then become very slow. More nerves are damaged because of this condition and the body’s normal functioning are interfered. Normal functions controlled by the body’s nervous system like walking; memory, vision, speech and writing are greatly interfered.

Its distribution in the USA

According to statistical findings, there are more than three hundred fifty thousand people, who live in the United States of American alone, have multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis, up to now, is still an idiopathic disease which means its definite cause still remains unknown. For the last two decades, scientists and researchers have done their best in finding more about the disorders that are associated with the immune system. Moreover, many findings have indicated that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease.

The immune system acts against its own.

The body’s immune system acts as the body’s defender against foreign and harmful substances. If there is any aggressor in the midst, the immune system acts right away, identifying the enemy and attacking the invader until the invader is either dead or weak. This whole response is greatly dependent on the proper communication between the immune cells and the production of new cells for the fight against the foreign substance.

After the myelin is damaged, some of it can be repaired as most disappear once the nerves are stripped of their myelin covering. Scarring results and particles are deposited right into the scars formed. Eventually, the forming of scars will lead to the formation of plaques.

Genetics

The role of genetics is not very clear with regards to multiple sclerosis. But still, reports have determined that Eskimos, European gypsies and the African Bantus do not develop multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, the Japanese, Asians and the Native Indians of both North and South America experience multiple sclerosis but with a low incidence.

The possibility of the general population to develop MS is only one percent. However, for those who have family members, who had the disease before, or at present, increase the chance, especially if it is a first-degree relative.

A first-degree family member such as parent, sister or brother also has a one to three percent of actually having the debilitating disorder. But with twins, things become more difficult. An identical twin has a thirty percent chance of having the disease, where as the nonidentical twin gets only four percent.

Multiple Sclerosis According To The Multiple Sclerosis Association Of America

What is the MSAA?

The MSAA or the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a non-profit organization that has a national affectation. Its main mission is to develop the quality of life for those who have multiple sclerosis or MS. With the MSAA, there is a wide variety of programs that they could choose from. These programs, no matter how diverse and different they get, are very good in managing services for those with MS, including their corresponding families.

What is it?

According to the MSAA, MS is actually the most common neurological disorder that is usually found in those in their young adulthood stage of development. Since its causes have still not yet been identified completely, researchers never stop in looking for the answers to questions that have been asked ages ago.

MS is not at all contagious. It does not quicken a life expectancy for those who have sadly developed this disease. It is a known fact that nothing can cure this disease and that prevention is not as easy as it may sound. But still, there are many treatment methods that are very successful in reducing the disease’s severity and slowing the progression down to a minimum.

What does it affect?

Multiple sclerosis usually affects the CNS or the central nervous system. This is made up of the brain, nerves and the spinal cord. With MS, the myelin is damaged, leading to incorrect transmission of impulses and messages. The myelin is an insulator for the nerves as it surrounds them. This is then given the medical term of axon.

In short, once multiple sclerosis takes its toll, nerve impulses that are usually transmitted from the brain and the spinal cord short circuits. Afterwards the body reduces, if not totally loses, its normal functioning.

Duration of effects

The effects that occur with MS probably differ with each person. In others who have had the disease in only over a short period of time. After this short period, things might be symptom-free for some time.

Many believe that MS is an autoimmune disorder. Actually, according to research, it is definitely an autoimmune disease. The body’s white blood cells or the fighter cells become misguided and attack its own cells, ones that are healthy all throughout the body. Once there is inflammation within the person’s head, then further damage to the myelin must be avoided.

Areas of inflammation

Those areas that have inflamed are given the term of lesions or plaques. They vary in number, location and size and these lesions can determine the type of multiple sclerosis that is occurring and just how severe the symptoms are. It is such a misfortune that MS is usually clinically silent with no increase in terms of the disease’s symptoms. However, there are obvious demonstrations of abnormal activity within the person’s head.

Scar tissues may also result on the big areas of the damaged myelin. The term multiple sclerosis actually came from back then with regards to a hardened plaque. The word multiple is congruent in meaning with many while sclerosis means scarring.

Multiple Sclerosis Differential Diagnoses And Workups

CSF exam

Upon examining the cerebrospinal fluid of those who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, otherwise referred to as MS, electrophoretic patterns can be observed. These patterns are made up of oligoclonal bands that indicate any significant increase in the person’s IgG. In fact, roughly eighty-five percent of MS patients demonstrate this finding.

Usually, the glucose level is within normal range. However, the protein level can be either normal or mildly increased. And the white blood cells range from slightly up to moderately increased but no exceeding five, specifically the mononuclear cells.

The MBP or the myelin basic protein is an important workup in MS. This component of myelin is increased in multiple sclerosis. Still, however, physicians do not recommend using the MBP’s as the marker to indicate the disease process or the progression of multiple sclerosis.

Blood tests

Those with MS must be tested for their B12 and their Folate levels, including their antinuclear antibody, or their ANA titers. Such tests are essential whenever there is evidence of a fast-acting deterioration in the cognition or degeneration of the person’s spinal cord.

Multiple sclerotic people experiencing optic neuritis and spinal cord lesions that are somewhat extensive should go to the laboratory to be tested for NMO or neuromyelitis optica. This test will determine the presence of antibodies of aquaporin 4 flowing within the serum.

An ESR or an erythrocyte sedimentation rate must also be taken, along with positive titers of a rheumatoid factor. These specific blood tests help in identifying if the disease being experienced by the person is indeed MS or just a vasculitic disease that apes multiple sclerosis.

Imaging studies

An MRI scan of either the head or the spine, with or without gadolinium, must be performed depending on whichever location the lesions are suspected.

Lesions that appear in relation to the onset of multiple sclerosis typically appear looking like T2 hyperintensities located within periventricular areas. These typical lesions have an ovoid shape and usually affect the white matter only. In some cases, several lesions grow from the corpus callosum of the brain.

Whenever the scans indicate lesions from the corpus callosum, this is termed as Dawson fingers. This term came from the work done by James Dawson back in 1916 as a neuropathologic test at the University of Edinburgh. This kind of condition indicates that the cells associated with inflammation have been distributed perivascularly into the veins and the venules of the brain tissues.

Imaging studies can also show any formations of plaque, especially in infratentorial regions. Moreover, the most common infratentorial areas affected by the plaques are the cerebellar peduncles, the pons’ surface and also the white matter part closest to the fourth ventricle.

Once gadolinium is used as the contrast dye, some lesions become luminescent. This result is indicative of an active disease process. Such luminescence means the BBB or the blood-brain barrier has broken down because of a constant subacute process of inflammation, ranging from a few days up to several weeks.

If a combination of both luminescent and non-luminescent lesions is observed, then this would further indicate the chronicity of the disease’s demyelinating process.

How To Treat Multiple Sclerosis

When it comes to treating multiple sclerosis, a variety of ways can be depended on. These treatment methods, no matter how different they may be, are all focused on one thing and one thing only, and that is to treat the disease’s general symptoms.

Treatments vary from the parenteral medications that can reduce the flare-ups to the medications that are aimed at treating fatigue, inflammation and the resulting muscle spasticity. Also, there are different kinds of diet that have been established to help a lot in reducing multiple sclerosis symptoms. Moreover, and fortunately, most of these diets have been tested to have the ability to reverse the total disease process.

Doing it the conventional way

Even treating multiple sclerosis has a conventional type. Usually, a Beta Interferon is injected into the body as it decreases the flare-ups of multiple sclerosis. With the use of a protein that has already undergone some genetic engineering; the medication is able to reduce the disease’s general activity. However, the Beta Interferon does not have any power when it comes to reversing what has already been damaged.

Despite the fact that the protein being used in this treatment method is very similar to a protein that is already inside the human body, many still find it difficult to successfully tolerate the medication. This is mainly because the drug’s side effects can oftentimes be unmanageable. With this in mind, physicians usually prescribe or suggest this kind of treatment for those who have the relapsing type of multiple sclerosis.

Alternative drugs

Since the Beta Interferon is only for those with complaint but can still walk, physicians prescribe other drugs that can also treat the symptoms of the subject in topic. However, these drugs can only serve to prolong life by making it more comfortable for the person living it. Most of these alternative drugs do not have the power to reduce the process of the pathogenicity of the disease nor can it reverse the disease.

For flare-ups, doctors usually prescribe an analgesic, which is the medical term given to pain relievers, muscle relaxants and corticosteroids.

Masking symptoms is a no-go.

Covering up symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis is never a great idea. The only best way to treat, according to statistical research, is that people should improve their life by modifying their lifestyle. For instance, those who have multiple sclerosis should know which food are safe to eat and which ones should be avoided.

Physicians and nutritionists state that a diet rich in vegetables and fresh fruits is best for multiple sclerosis. Also, a reduced amount of saturated fats has been proven to be very helpful and beneficial.

As much as possible, those who have multiple sclerosis must avoid stress at all costs. To attain this, they have to do some relaxation techniques or exercising that renders them and their system stress-free. Examples of such exercises are walking, yoga, swimming and tai chi.

Also, it is important that people with multiple sclerosis keep a positive attitude above all. Although attitude cannot do anything for definitely curing the disease, it can help in reducing the stress. And once stress is reduced, if not totally avoided, then the symptoms are greatly reduced as well.

Is Cannabis Use Beneficial For Multiple Sclerosis?

Some medical researchers have grouped together to look for tests that can evaluate some extracts of the cannabis such as the cannabidiol or CBD and the delta9-tetrahydrocanabinnol or the THC. According to their findings, a therapeutic advantage and benefit can be derived from the combination of the two aforementioned extracts, especially towards the relief of spasticity involved with multiple sclerosis.

What is spasticity?

Spasticity is a general term given to involuntary muscular contractions which are very common to multiple sclerosis. Many treatment modalities directed at this symptom of MS have rendered themselves somewhat ineffective and intolerable.

In this study by experts form the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, namely Marie Rowland and Shaheen Lakhan, certain side effects from cannabis have the ability to limit spasticity. The intoxication from cannabis, otherwise termed as marijuana, is actually necessary for limiting spasticity. But of course, the effects vary depending on how much cannabis was taken to intoxicate. The study they conducted in Los Angeles indicates that cannabinoids have a therapeutic effect for multiple sclerosis.

The trial

People with MS who have significant leg muscle spasticity were called in from different places to take part in this experiment. There were sixteen respondents, six had primary – progressive while ten of the respondents had the secondary – progressive type. The average age was forty-six years old having MS for an average of fifteen years.

There were three groups, each of which has been allocated a certain treatment. One was set for cannabis oil, the second for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is a cannabis constituent. And lastly, the placebo capsules which only contained vegetable oil.

The multiple sclerotic people were instructed to take the drugs and reach a specific level of medication in the first five weeks of the trial, but before passing eight weeks of monitoring.

Those who took the treatment, including the physicians, have no idea which mode of treatment has been taken. Everything will only be found right after the results of the study has been determined. Physicians were tasked to assess the stiffness of the muscles and their mobility every couple of weeks. Aside from physical assessment, postal questionnaires were also utilized. All of the side effects were to be taken down.

Physicians measured the muscle tone by using a categorical scale that holds 0 as normal, 1 as mild elevation, 2 as more marked elevation, 3 as considerable increase, and 4 as rigid limb upon flexion or extension for both the arms and the legs. They had to have a score of two for inclusion.

The results

Most of what came out as results were initially anecdotal at best and somewhat difficult to interpret. But after some time of further analysis, the meaning of the results was finally determined.

The cannabinoids that were taken orally were most helpful. However, such result was not observed in all patients, only in those who smoked the cannabis. Actually, other tests in the previous years have shown their results regarding the effect of cannabinoids in controlling spasticity.

Lifesaving Drug For Multiple Sclerosis

What the physicians think

Doctors at Liverpool have discovered a drug that can be considered as a miracle treatment for multiple sclerosis, a debilitating and muscle-wasting disease. The scientists held their research and tests at the Walton Neurological Centre and they claim that they have just heralded a breakthrough for the eighty-five thousand multiple sclerotic people in the United Kingdom.

Those who had multiple sclerosis, otherwise known as MS, who suffered from blindness, immobility and paralysis, have described the moments when they have eventually regained their ability to see and to walk again.

What the doctors used for treating such patients were a combination of mitoxantrone, which is a drug for chemotherapy, and copaxone, which is an anti-relapse medication of multiple sclerosis.

The tests

Trials were done to twenty-seven patients and all of them were successful. To further test the drug’s effectiveness, they distributed some amount of the medication to over twenty research centers across the United Kingdom.

The testimonies

K. A. fell from a pedestal in a nightclub and was admitted to the hospital in 2002. After some tests, it was found out that she had multiple sclerosis. She was one of the respondents at Walton and she has been using the test drug ever since. In fact, up to now, she still sees the drug as a miracle cure.

A travel agent, who was just twenty-eight years old, suffered from paralysis and believed that he could never ever try walking again. But after four years of treatment with the wonder drug, he has been able to regain the complete use of his body and was able to move around freely. In fact, he got his Masters Degree in Psychology, traveled across five different continents, and excelled in his work. When he was asked, he would praise the drug for giving him his life back, if not making it better.

Another respondent to the experiment was a mother of two children. Her multiple sclerosis already reached its ultimately aggressive levels which caused her to suffer from balance disturbance and extreme fatigue. She was given a short course of the mitoxantrone and copaxone daily. Now, the very same mother is free of relapses and has even participated in the charity race, Race for Life.

Some from Runcorn also suffered from blindness and some problems with his spine. But now, he is back on his feet and has reported a great improvement with regards to his vision.

J. S., who happens to be a motorcycle enthusiast, was doomed to a wheelchair because a relapse took away his ability to walk or to move his body. At thirty-eight years old, he is able to turn his life around. Although he admits that he could never be the wild guy he used to be before, he can at least ride his motorbike again. What makes him truly happy is that he can now get back to work and be more productive.

The conclusion

The spokesman from the MS Society has finally released their statement and said that what they have found out was such a fabulous breakthrough in the medical field, especially for those who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

How Is Multiple Sclerosis Classified?

Multiple sclerosis is actually characterized by the disruption of the normal functioning of the peripheral nerve connections of the spinal cord and brain. It is a complex disease which is idiopathic, meaning that its cause remains unknown. This further means that multiple sclerosis is not easily prevented nor cured.

What is considered as compensation is the finding that multiple sclerosis is generally not a lifethreatening disorder. There are existing treatment methods that are able to successfully control the disease’s underlying symptoms. It is through these treatment modalities that the development of multiple sclerosis can be slowed and those with complaint are given chances to live active and normal lives.

The disease process of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is believed to occur mainly because of the destruction of the myelin. Myelin a substance made up of adipose that insulates the nerve cells. Apart from providing protection for the tissues and the nerve cells, the myelin also serves as a facilitator in transmitting nerve impulses all through out the body.

When there is demyelization, the nerve tissues harden and the whole nervous system becomes damaged. It is the impairment of the nervous system that leads to the wide variety of multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis can actually be classified according to two characteristic groups which are relapsing - remitting type plus chronic - progressive type. The latter classification is further divided into three, primary - progressive, secondary - progressive and progressive - relapsing. These classifications are made according to the frequency and the intensity of the generated symptoms, including the disease’s rate of progression.

The relapsing - remitting type

This is the most ordinary form of multiple sclerosis. It majorly affects persons who are young or middle-aged. This type’s major characteristics are soft and tend to occur only in flares. It is after the short duration of the symptomatic flare-ups that remission occurs, thus producing unperceivable symptoms for a couple of weeks up to months.

The remission phase usually occurs naturally but the use of immunosuppressive medications can hasten the duration and the occurrence of its periods. Usually, after the remission phase has completely passed, a short relapse time follows. The relapse is commonly characterized by the strengthening of the disease’s general symptoms.

The chronic - progressive type

Multiple sclerosis cases are slow in progressing and do not involve spontaneous remission phases. This type predominantly affects those who are forty-five years old and above. Twenty percent of those with multiple sclerosis have the chronic - progressive type.

The primary - progressive subtype

The primary - progressive multiple sclerosis comprises of a predictable pattern of development. The aforementioned subtype gradually evolves without having any periods of remission. This subtype is commonly comprised of approximately ten percent of those who are definitively given the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

The secondary - progressive subtype

The secondary - progressive subtype affects half of those who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, specifically the relapsing - remitting type. This subtype is usually involved with flare-ups that are also associated with some periods of remission.

The progressive - relapsing subtype

This last subtype of the chronic - progressive type of multiple sclerosis is actually a very rare form. Although this subtype is gradual in its progression, it is compensated with having only short periods of symptomatic flare-ups.

How To Diagnose Multiple Sclerosis

Misdiagnosing

There is a collection of tests that are needed to finally diagnose multiple sclerosis. This is so because there is no single diagnostic exam that is entirely proof-positive for the disease’s diagnosis.

Since the whole diagnosing process is difficult, a neurologist should be consulted as an evaluator. There is a ten percent among those who are said to have multiple sclerosis that actually has a disease that merely mimics multiple sclerosis. Such diseases that are usually mistaken as multiple sclerosis are multiple strokes, brain infection, inflammation of the blood vessels, lupus and vitamin deficiency. There are also some stress-related diseases that are misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.

How the diagnosis is made

An accurate diagnosis of multiple sclerosis needs a complete medical history plus a neurological examination, which examines both the brain and the spinal cord. A lot of the diagnosing part, if not all, greatly depends on the correct questions asked by the physician in order to correctly uncover or discover important information.

In addition to a thoroughly taken medical history and physical assessment, there is also a variety of highly specialized procedures that are extremely helpful. Such procedures are spinal taps, MRI which makes use of imaging techniques, lumbar punctures which examine the cerebrospinal fluid running through the spinal column, laboratory analysis of the person’s blood, and evoked potentials which are basically electrical tests that determine if the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis has affected the nerve pathways.

Accepted criteria for diagnosis

First of all, it is in accordance to ongoing research that, multiple sclerosis occurs to those who are between twenty and fifty years of age. Aside from the weakening of the immune system, this age range is usually the one affected with the disease’s predisposing and precipitating etiologic factors.

For multiple sclerosis to be diagnosed there must be the presence of symptoms or signs that indicate damage or disease of the brain or the spinal cord. Also, since an MRI is compulsory, multiple sclerosis can only be diagnosed when there is evidence of two or more lesions. And of course, when all else fails and there is no other explanation for the underlying symptoms, the doctor could resort to diagnosing it as multiple sclerosis as long as the symptoms are congruent with that of the aforementioned disease.

What can be seen in the MRI scan?

With MRI, the neurologist is able to visualize any scar tissue in the deeper parts of the brain or the spinal cord due to the occurrence of multiple sclerosis. However, the very same lesions can also be seen in other conditions such as migraine headaches and hypertension. With this in mind, diagnosing multiple sclerosis is the last thing the physician would declare, since a group of tests are still needed to be done.

There is a five percent among those who have multiple sclerosis that does not show lesions on their MRI scan, probably because the lesions are somehow unique and cannot be easily detected by an MRI. Therefore, an MRI test is not completely depended on for immediately diagnosing or ruling out multiple sclerosis.

How To Know If It Is A Multiple Sclerosis Relapse

With multiple sclerosis, relapses are probably the most frustration-filled area of the disease. Apart from the person with complaint having to endure such annoying and painful relapses, that person’s family and physicians are also given a hard time.

Exacerbations

Earlier on, many assumed that the returning tingling in the feet, otherwise termed as paresthesia, is an exacerbation. There are some days where this paresthesia is nearly completely gone, and in some days it just prevents the person from ambulating. Aside from this disturbance in the lower extremities, there is also the girdle-band pain that just would not go away.

With these kinds of symptoms, it is best to see a neurologist right away, especially if the symptoms are starting to interfere with normal functioning.

What is a relapse?

Relapse is the term given to an occurrence wherein the signs or symptoms are clinically significant. Such event is usually caused by lesions associated with multiple sclerosis, specifically the ones located inside the brain and spinal cord. Relapses have also been given other terms such as flares, exacerbations and attacks.

What causes a relapse?

The inflammation triggered by an immune response within the body causes the relapses. Since multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks its own cells including the healthy ones. In the case of MS, the myelin sheath is attacked.

The myelin sheath serves as the protective covering of the nerves. Aside from protection, it also aids in the proper conduction of signals and messages for appropriate communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

With a damaged myelin, a lesion forms and demyelization occurs. This makes the nerves even less effective in transmitting signals properly. The symptoms associated with MS greatly depend on where the lesion is located. For example, if the lesion is located inside the cerebellum, then it will primarily cause incoordination and general imbalance. On the other hand, if the lesion has damaged the optic nerve, then the resulting symptom is a decrease in vision.

What signals a relapse?

Some relapses can be immediately observed. For example, once optic neuritis attacks, vision is lost in one eye. In other relapses, however, there are more dramatic effects such as feeling fatigued and “wobbly”.

To be definite in saying that it was a relapse, there has to be an MRI scan with a gadolinium. This is just a contrast medium used for MRI scans. It is much more observable with viewing inflammation because it tends to be luminescent whenever a certain lesion is considered active. If the lesions are active, then it means that demyelization is still taking place. When this occurs, then it is, indeed, a true relapse, and not merely symptoms of past lesions.

True relapse

For a relapse to be considered true relapse, it has to occur for at least twenty-four hours. Mini-relapses can also take place, which are mainly comprised of quirky symptoms that do not usually last for more than a couple of minutes up to a few hours only. But mini-relapses are not true relapses.

True relapses take several weeks before they stop.

Childbirth May Slow Multiple Sclerosis

The women who already have at least one child have a thirty-four percent less of the possibility of having a progressive state of multiple sclerosis. According to studies, those women who do not have children yet are more likely to reach a stage of MS where they would need assistance in walking with a brace or a cane.

Having a child before or after the symptoms of multiple sclerosis started to appear is of great help. On the other hand, those women who had children even after the onset of their disease’s symptoms were much better off. Either way, it seems that pregnancy helps in cases of multiple sclerosis.

What the experts say

In fact, according to an expert from the Department of Neurology at the National MS Centrum which is located in Mesbroek, Belgium, named Marie D’hooghe, women who have multiple sclerosis and children tend to have a benign type of MS. This finding is in comparison to those women who have not yet given birth.

Research on multiple sclerosis indicates that eighty-five percent of those who unluckily develop MS initially have a relapsing – remitting type. This means that attacks associated with this particular disease are usually followed by either total or partial recovery. More than fifty percent actually have a progressive state of the disease.

When this happens, the symptoms become much worse and more difficult to handle, and the rest periods where the symptoms disappear for a while become shorter. After some time, the MS process will lead to having a loss of vision, or worse, paralysis.

Women are more at risk than men.

Research has it that females are more predisposed to having multiple sclerosis. However, such cases are less severe as compared to the severity of the disease in males.

In the study conduced by the researchers mentioned, three-quarters of the female respondents have already had children. What the researchers did was they monitored the duration needed before the women reached sixth level based on the EDSS or the Expanded Disability Status Scale.

The Expanded Disability Status Scale

The EDSS is a system for rating that is used as a tool by many physicians for determining the severity of the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. For instance, first level means the severity is least severe, level ten means death is near. On the sixth level, it means that he or she needs to make use of an assistive device for mobility.

Research findings

For those who have no experience of giving birth usually had an average of thirteen up to fifteen years before finally progressing to the sixth level on the EDSS. On the other hand, those who already have children took some twenty-two up to twenty-three years before reaching that stage.

Moreover, the Director of the biomedical research from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Patricia O’Looney, say that there are indeed benefits for female patients who have already had children. Still, however, there is not enough data derived from their demographics to totally come up with some conclusions.

Common Human Bacteria Triggers Multiple Sclerosis

Up to now, there is ongoing research with regards to the factors that could trigger the onset of multiple sclerosis, more popularly termed as MS. Some findings indicate that there is an ordinary oral bacterium that could complicate this debilitating autoimmune disorder.

More information on multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is actually a disease wherein the body’s very own immune system attacks the brain, including the spinal cord. This disease affects one in approximately seven hundred people in the U.S. area. Those who have MS display a variety of symptoms such as neurological ones, difficulty in mobility and speech, and muscle weakness.

The common bacteria

The common bacteria, being talked about, are the porphyromas gingivalis, which is very common in human beings. These bacteria produce a very unique form of lipid called phosphorylated dihydroceramides or DHC’s. The DHC enhances the inflammatory response of the person. Also, this lipid is produced in other regions of the body, usually in the gastrointestinal tract.

These bacteria can be detected by identifying first if there is any DNA that specifically responds to this particular strain. This can be done by having a polymerase chain reaction, which is used for characterizing any evidence of DNA that specifically respond to the porphyromas gingivalis.

With this diagnostic tool, the presence of such bacteria can be identified in the oral cavity. This further suggests that early detection, including eradication, pay important roles in prophylaxis for this autoimmune disease.

Actually, a study was initiated by experts from the University of Connecticut Health Center such as Robert Clark and Frank Nichols. They started with this research in order to determine if such lipids can accentuate the immune-mediated impairment in this specific autoimmune sickness.

According to the findings of this study, the disease’s severity was enhanced whenever there were more these lipids. This concludes that the DHC’s which were phosphorylated from the said bacteria that are usually found in the body of humans can actually trigger, or in some cases, increase, the severity of multiple sclerosis.

Triggering factors

It is already a known fact that during an autoimmune attack, the own immune system attacks self tissues that could either be healthy or damaged. Either way, the immune system’s cells attack them all.

In the case of multiple sclerosis, the cells attack the protective covering of the nerves which is called the myelin. Apart from serving as protection, the myelin also aids in the proper transmission of signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

After proving that phosphorylated DHC’s from common bacteria found in humans can aggravate the process of this particular autoimmune system. Their next goal is to exemplify the effects of such DHC’s on the immune system’s cells. Also, they would like to identify exactly how the DHC’s are deposited in the tissues and exactly which tissues it prefers to be deposited in

They have also determined that phosphorylated DHC’s have a big potential to be the markers of multiple sclerosis’ disease process and also as the new targets when it comes to therapeutic intervention.

Good News On Pregnancy And Multiple Sclerosis

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis, which is otherwise termed as MS, is actually an autoimmune disorder that mainly affects the central nervous system. This debilitating disease commonly affects females who are in their childbearing years.

This means that certain issues are regarded significantly in relation to their disease, such as conception, getting pregnant and delivery of the baby.

Some research findings show that pregnancy has both clinical and immunological effects in the disease process of multiple sclerosis. Also, there are data that discuss the efficacy and the safety of treatments aimed at immuno-modulating cases of MS. And, symptomatic therapies for lactating women and pregnant women are also included. Furthermore, the research also includes management modalities for multiple sclerosis during the duration of the pregnancy.

The good news

Having multiple sclerosis can be such bad news, since this disease is not only debilitating but it is also an autoimmune disorder. However, with this bad news comes good news. The good news is that pregnancy is not at all a problem when it comes to MS. In fact, research findings actually think it is quite beneficial. With this said, multiple sclerotic women do not have to be afraid of getting pregnant.

The only bad thing that could happen when pregnancy and multiple sclerosis happens together is that they just tend to have a bigger possibility in having caesarean deliveries and slow prenatal development, as compared to those who do not have MS.

But the advantage is such a big advantage because pregnant women with multiple sclerosis are no longer at risk for pre-eclampsia, other hypertensive pregnancy problems and a premature rupture of the membranes.

About the study

The study that was done made use of a national database that is usually utilized in nonfederal and short-stay hospitals in approximately thirty-eight states in the United States. There were an estimated total of eighteen million births, and that ten thousand of those who gave birth have multiple sclerosis.

An expert from the Stanford University School of Medicine named Eliza Chakravarty say that the results of the mentioned study are beneficial for females who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. They have shown that having multiple sclerosis during pregnancy does not increase the risk of acquiring pregnancy-related complications.

Many physicians have actually been uncertain about the many effects of MS on different conditions of patients. In this case, they were hesitant whether or not a person with MS can have a child. It was because of this uncertainty that doctors advised their female patients to delay or avoid getting pregnant, when they actually did not have to.

What medications to avoid

Female persons who have multiple sclerosis who have a desire to become pregnant just need to know that there are particular drugs that are able to treat MS but should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy and during lactation. Such drugs can be the causative factors for many kinds of birth defects that can be transmitted to the fetus via blood and to the infant via the colostrum found in breast milk.

Causes Of Multiple Sclerosis

Up to now, multiple sclerosis is still idiopathic. This means that, although research for its cause is currently and continuously being done, its definite cause still has not been discovered. However, a variety of probable causes has been found. It is through these probable causes that the medical diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can be established.

For starters, there is always the hereditary factor. The hereditary factor is present in almost all of the diseases. For instance, if a great great grandmother had multiple sclerosis, then there is a big chance that her descendants might have the disease as well.

Aside from heredity, the environment, according to researchers, also affects the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. An antigen or allergen commonly found in the environment could trigger a response from the body that later on leads to an immunocompromised system.

Multiple Sclerosis being an autoimmune disease

Research has it that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease which means that the body’s personal immune system attacks its own cells. For reasons that are still unknown, the body’s immune cells show aggression towards and obliterate the myelin sheath that covers the neurons like an insulator inside the brain and the spinal cord.

This myelin sheath is responsible for the transmission and the prevention of unnecessary electrical activity that short circuits one cell from another cell. Once communication between the brain and the other parts of the body is disrupted, the transmission of sensations and control messages are not anymore normal. This pathophysiology is that of multiple sclerosis.

Plaques in multiple sclerosis

The progression of the disease’s symptoms is correlated with the development of new plaques within the parts of the brain that simultaneously control the affected areas. These plaques are developed from the demyelinated areas, which are basically the tiny round areas of gray neuron that no longer has a white myelin covering.

What makes multiple sclerosis more complicated is that, the pattern of the appearance of the plaques has absolutely no pattern. This makes multiple sclerosis completely unpredictable.

Inflammation of the myelin sheath

Normal cells are covered by a sheath that acts as an insulator. This sheath is made up of adipose substances that are called myelin. Myelin is very helpful in the correct and appropriate transmission of nerve impulses. Once this sheath is damaged from too much inflammation, multiple sclerosis occurs.

WBC action

T cells, which are special subsets of white blood cells, are important in the development of multiple sclerosis. Normally, the T cells are able distinguish between self and non-self. However, with multiple sclerosis, the T cells become weak when it comes to recognizing and differentiating self and non-self. In fact, in most multiple sclerosis cases, these lymphocytes recognize the healthy cells of the central nervous system as foreign and harmful and attack.

There is a BBB or a blood-brain barrier that serves as a tight barrier between the blood and the brain. This barrier is made up of endothelial cells that completely line the walls of the blood vessels. Since the auto-reactive T cells start attacking healthy cells and trigger an inflammatory process, they tend to cross the BBB, when they are not at all supposed to. This breaks down the BBB, thus, leading to multiple sclerosis.

All About Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

It has been scientifically determined that multiple sclerosis can potentially debilitate a person. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks the sheath that protects the nerves. Once this sheath is damaged or totally destroyed, the normal communication between the person’s brain and the rest of the body is interfered. This condition results into the deteriorating of the nerves, a complication that can never be reversed.

Multiple Sclerosis symptoms

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis may vary depending on how much damage has occurred to the nerves that are affected. Those who have the severe type of multiple sclerosis can end up being bedridden since their ability to walk or to talk is destroyed.

What is very bothersome about these symptoms is that they tend to come and go. This means that they could suddenly arrive and then suddenly disappear for a few months. This is why doctors find it initially difficult to diagnose multiple sclerosis during its early stages.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms are also usually manifested by people between the ages of twenty and forty. Although multiple sclerosis can happen to anyone from any age, this is the common age range that is affected. Also, according to statistical research, the women are the ones who usually carry this debilitating disorder.

There is numbness or fatigue in one limb or both. This kind of weakness usually occurs on just one side of the body at a single time. However, there have been reports that it could happen to the entire bottom part of the body. This condition is often accompanied with a tingling sensation that is sometimes painful in some parts of the body.

There is also a partial or a complete visual loss which starts at one time then ends with having pain whenever both eyes move. This condition is given the medical term of optic neuritis. Apart from loss of vision, double vision or blurring of vision can also occur.

There could also be sensations like electrical shock that occur whenever the head is moved. Tremors also happen with the accompaniment of absence of coordination and imbalanced gait.

Many who have multiple sclerosis might experience relapses of the symptoms, especially during the early stages of the disorder. This relapsing phase is often followed by partial or complete remission.

Its causes

As minimally mentioned, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues. The myelin, which is a protective wall that insulates the nerve fibers within, is damaged in multiple sclerosis. Once it is damaged, foreign substances that are potentially harmful can then freely destroy the open and unprotected nerve fibers.

Multiple sclerosis can happen to anyone from any age. However, it has been discovered that it usually occurs to people who are between twenty and forty years of age. As mentioned, women are also the ones who usually carry such disease. In fact, women are twice more likely to have multiple sclerosis than men.

As any other condition, heredity plays an important role. The risk of developing multiple sclerosis is greater for those who have a family history of the disease than for those who do not. If one of the parents has the disease, then there is a one to three percent possibility that multiple sclerosis may develop.

When it comes to identical twins, things are much more complicated and difficult to ascertain. Identical twins would mean having identical risks, according to some medical scientists. However, this is not the case because a twin who has multiple sclerosis only gives his or her identical twin a thirty percent possibility of having the very same disorder.

 
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