Multiple Sclerosis : from initial symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease thought to afflict about 2.5 million people worldwide. The figure could be much higher because the disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose so in many cases it goes undetected. No-one can find the cause and no-one has yet found the cure.
Giving you the Information
The symptoms can be so mild and so infrequent that the sufferer may never know they have MS. But the disease can also devastate lives, leaving its victims wheelchair bound with altered personalities that place an intolerable burden on loved ones.
Multiple sclerosis may not be life threatening but it's certainly life changing. It normally strikes young adults in their 20s and 30s but an increasing number of children and teenagers are now being diagnosed.
This bewildering disease has a vast range of symptoms - from eyesight and walking difficulties to memory loss and paralysis. No two sufferers have identical symptoms which makes multiple sclerosis difficult to diagnose. The symptoms often come and go, change within the same patient or simply disappear altogether so small wonder that it can take years before an accurate diagnosis. When heavy metal legend Ozzy Osborne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992 he decided to retire and organized a farewell tour. Six months later he sought a second opinion and was given the all clear.
All MS symptoms result from damage to the protective covering (known as myelin) which shields the nerves within the body's central nervous system. This tissue damage interrupts the smooth transmission of signals from the brain via the spinal cord - think of it as an electrical switchboard which has gone haywire.
Questions that baffle Researchers
The biggest questions facing medical researchers are: why does someone's immune system start attacking their own body tissue, what can be done to stop it and what can be done to repair the damage?
Multiple sclerosis is prevalent in some parts of the world but virtually non-existent in others. Theories abound as to why this is but no-one really knows the answer. Much more research needs to be carried out both to identify the causes of this debilitating disease and to find the cure. Scientists are looking at the possibility of repairing damaged nerve tissue using stem cells cultivated from aborted fetuses. Many are excited by the implications of stem cell research which could prove to be the longed for cure not only for MS but many other chronic diseases. Others are reviled by this type of research.
It's a known fact that the body can repair damaged nerve tissue on its own which is why many Multiple Sclerosis sufferers experience continuous relapses and remissions. This leads some radical thinkers to believe that a combination of diet and relaxation can alleviate the symptoms of MS and even cure the disease completely. Mainstream medics rubbish the cure claim, whilst still frantically seeking the definitive answer themselves.
The aim of this site is to provide those affected by MS with as much information as possible, and to encourage frank and open public debate on these and other issues affecting MS sufferers worldwide. So if your life has been touched by this disease and you have something to say on the subject, please contact us or post a message on our feedback.