Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects millions of people around the world. It is an autoimmune disease that directly affects the spinal cord and brain in which the white blood cells throughout the body attack certain tissues called myelin sheaths. These sheaths offer a protective covering for the nerve fibers within the brain. They work much like insulation for electric wires. When the sheaths are damaged or worn down, the process causes nerve fibers to become completely exposed leaving them less able to correctly transmit needed nerve impulses. The messages between different body parts are then not transmitted correctly or effectively. Once a myelin sheath has been completely destroyed, scar tissue will build up. This is called sclerosis and is found in damaged areas of the myelin.
Over the years, scientists have discovered that women have a much higher risk of getting multiple sclerosis. In fact, they are 70 percent more likely to show signs of the disease. Those of European descent are also more likely to be diagnosed with MS than those of African American and Asian American descent. Diagnosing MS can be difficult since symptoms present different in different people. Those who do reach a diagnosis of the disease typically report a long history of MS related symptoms. Tests such as MRIs and spinal fluid testing are done to reach the proper diagnosis.
Research into the causes and treatments for multiple sclerosis have risen at a substantial rate in the past few years. Researchers are currently looking into different ways to prevent, treat and even cure the disease. Recent research has shown that a scientific phenomenon known as CCSVI may contribute to damage of the nervous system for those with MS. CCSVI is a dysfunction of the blood flow and drainage within the brain.
Just this year, research has grown with more scientists working on studies than ever before. The National MS Society in the United States continues to offer research and scientific studies to help find cures and treatments for the disease.
Clinical studies are ongoing as well with researchers working on a global level. Current recruits for adult patients with multiple sclerosis are being done for a study that will compare two doses of teriflunomide or HMR1726. This drug acts as a modulating agent within the immune system. Patients will receive the drug or a placebo and reports will be made to show any mass improvement with the oral drug.
Researchers note that those who experience numbness, focal weakness, decrease in vision or coordination difficulties suggest CIS, which is a single neurological event that may suggest demyelization. Many global organizations have combined efforts in order to expedite the search for a cure for this debilitating disease. While studies are still being conducted and new medicines and treatments tested, scientists know much more about multiple sclerosis now than they ever have. Current studies into genetics and other focal points are showing researchers new ways to come up with treatments to help those with this disease.
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