SCIN132 - Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology with Lab
A disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) is known as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and affects over 2.5 million people worldwide. Around 400,000 people who have the disease reside in the United States. Of that 400,000 the ratio is roughly one woman to every seven men. Multiple Sclerosis is a disease where the individual’s immune system attacks the central nervous system. The immune system attacks and damages the myelin sheath which is a coating that is around the nerve fibers which eventually attacks and kills those nerve fibers as well. Every signal that controls your thoughts and daily movements’ originate from the brain and the spinal cord, it is extremely difficult to move or even think when those signals are not properly functioning.
In October 2010 Courtney Galiano, a professional dancer, was a star on the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” she was performing beautifully, like a professional dancer should. Everything was going well for this 23 year old young lady, until one day she woke up and had no sensation in her legs. Courtney described the feeling on a Newsday interview as; "My legs went numb on the season-seven tour. I thought I had herniated a disc or pinched a nerve, so I kind of ignored it. I didn't want to be taken off the tour, and I'm a dancer -- I beat up my body for a living. It's nothing. Then it lasted till about March, and when I touched my chin to my chest, I felt this electricity thing. And later I learned this was called Lhermitte's sign, and it's a symptom of MS." (Courtney Galiano reveals MS diagnosis - Newsday) Even though there was numbness and an electrical sensation Courtney never experienced any pain. How does one’s own immune system attack the central nervous system and cause such damage as Multiple Sclerosis?
The central nervous system is made up of three main components, the brain, cranial nerves and the spinal cord. Normal physiology of the brain consists of memory, imagination, speech and muscle movements. The cranial nerves are responsible for several functions such as smell, vision, facial sensations, hearing and taste. The functions of the spinal cord include sending and receiving signals from the brain, to the rest of the body. These signals allow for feelings and movements. (Nervous System Anatomy and Physiology)
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects the CNS that involves everything someone does; whether it’s taking a step, solving a problem, or simply breathing, all rely on the proper functions of the central nervous systems. To understand how MS affects the CNS it must be explored at the cellular level; in the brain there are millions of nerve cells called neurons that continually send and receive signals. Each signal that is sent is very minuscule, but extremely necessary part of complex facet of the CNS which coordinates with the actions, sensations, thoughts and emotions that encompass each individual experience. Normally the path over which a nerve travels is protected by a type of insulation called the myelin sheath. This insulation is essential for nerve signals to reach their target. Having MS, the underlying nerve fibers are also damaged and the myelin sheath has been eroded. This leads to a breakdown in the ability of the nerve cells to transmit signals. It is believed that the loss of the myelin sheath is a result of mistaken attacks by immune cells. Immune cells protect the body against foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses but in MS something goes erroneous. Thus, immune cells infiltrate the brain and spinal cord and then seek out the myelin sheath and attack it as if the sheath were foreign. As ongoing inflammation and attacks occur those signals are disrupted. This causes unpredictable symptoms that can range from numbness, tingling, blindness or paralysis, which could lead to temporary or...
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