Multiple Sclerosis: Types, Effects and Diagnosis

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Multiple Sclerosis

Jason Garoutte November 18, 1996 English / Mr. Blunt

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most misunderstood diseases of this century. Since it's discovery, there is still no known causes, no proven treatments, and no known cure, yet it affects possibly five hundred thousand people in the United States alone. People need to learn more about this disease so it can be brought to the attention of the nation.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. It destroys the fatty myelin sheath that insulates your nerve cells. Without this insulation, nerve communication is disrupted. The body then makes this worse by repairing it, and clogging the area with scar tissue. Signals going from your brain and brain stem, such as muscle coordination signals or visual sensation signals, are slowed greatly, or just blocked off. Thus, a person afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis can suffer any number of symptoms.

Researchers are not sure yet as to the cause of Multiple Sclerosis. There is a kind of deadlock among scientists and doctors whether it's hereditary, viral, or a combination of the two, with the disease being hereditary, but with a viral trigger, or just a simple chemical imbalance in the immune system. One thing is certain, though. Some sort of defect in the immune system causes white blood cells to attack and destroy the myelin sheath.

There are five main types of Multiple Sclerosis. The first type is Benign Multiple Sclerosis. It is the least severe, has little progression, and takes up twenty percent of all cases. The second type is Benign Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. It carries symptoms that fluctuate in severity, mild disability, and it makes up thirty percent of the total. The third type is Chronic Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. It is characterized by disability that increases with each attack, and it is the most common with forty percent of all cases. Chronic Progressive...
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