Multiple sclerosis (MS)

This is a potentially debilitating illness of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) that arises in the context of secondary immunodeficiency and results in the development of an autoimmune process that affects the myelin of the brain and spine.
In MS, the immune system assaults the protective coating (myelin) that surrounds nerve fibers, causing communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body. Eventually, the condition may cause irreversible nerve fiber injury or degeneration.

MS signs and symptoms vary greatly across people and are determined by the location and intensity of nerve fiber damage in the central nervous system. Some patients with severe MS may be unable to walk independently or at all. Depending on the form of MS, some people may go through extended periods of remission with no new symptoms.

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, there are medicines that can assist speed up recovery after attacks, change the course of the disease, and control symptoms.
The etiology of multiple sclerosis is uncertain. It is classified as an immunological-mediated illness, in which the body's immune system assaults its own tissues. In MS, the immune system malfunctions and destroys myelin, the fatty material that covers and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord.

Myelin is comparable to the insulation covering on electrical cables. When the protecting myelin is broken and the nerve fiber becomes exposed, the messages that pass along it may be delayed or halted.

It is unclear why MS affects some people but not others. A mix of genetic and environmental variables appears to be involved.
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