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Multiple sclerosis, commonly known as MS, is a disease that affects the nerves of the central nervous system. An insulation to the nerves known as myelin improves the impulses that maintain the health of the nerves. When an individual has multiple sclerosis, inflammation in the nervous system (spinal cord and brain) causes the myelin to degenerate. These nerves then become damaged, which can affect a person's vision, walking, speech, memory and writing. The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown but researchers have narrowed the reasoning down to genetics and disorders of the immune system. Common symptoms of MS include tingling, loss of balance, blurred or double vision, numbness, weakness in limbs, slurred speech, cognitive problems, lack of coordination, and sudden paralysis. While there is no one test to diagnosis multiple sclerosis, a series of criteria is used to diagnosis the disease.
Criteria used to diagnosis multiple sclerosis:
- Onset of MS typically occurs between 20 to 50 years of age
- Symptoms and signs are present
- Two or more lesions are found during an MRI scan
- Evidence of brain or spinal disease is found during an examination
- Two or more episodes of impaired function that lasts at least 24 hours
- No other explanation is found for the patients symptoms
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Learn about MS, living with MS, frequently asked questions, and get involved with an online community.
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation: Official foundation for individuals living with multiple sclerosis, programs and activities, publications and more.
Living with and Managing MS
Multiple sclerosis is a life long disease that can affect many aspects of daily life and present challenges to those who have it. Symptoms of MS typically come and go and therefore cause a certain ‘lack of control’ to sufferers of the disease. A treatment plan that includes medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes can help control MS. Every case of MS is dramatically different and can affect individuals in various ways. While some cases remain benign and patients only suffer small infrequent attacks, others can progress rapidly and cause intense degenerative symptoms that become worse with each attack.
- Healthy Living with MS: Tips and advice to healthy living for those suffering from multiple sclerosis.
- Learning about MS: Find information about multiple sclerosis, how it affects aspects of your health, and conventional treatments.
- Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: Learn about MS, associated programs and services, and how to manage the disease.
Both drug therapy and rehabilitation techniques have been extremely effective in managing multiple sclerosis. Avonex, Copazone, Betaseron, Extavia, Novatrone, Tysabri, and Rebif are some of the most common agents used in medications to reduce disease progression. Physical, occupational, cognitive, and vocational rehabilitation can be used throughout all stages of MS to help control symptoms. Lifestyle changes including change in diet and exercise, relaxation techniques, naturopathy, and herbal healing have all been used in place of conventional treatments.
- Multiple Sclerosis Overview: Causes, symptoms, exams and tests, treatments, and complications related to MS.
- Bee Sting Therapy: Learn how bee sting therapy, or apitherapy, can be used as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.
- The Best Bet Treatment: How a mixture of therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes can act as an effective MS treatment plan.
- Multiple Sclerosis Relapse Guideline: National guideline on treatment of MS relapses.
- Treatment and Diagnosis: MS treatment options for children and adolescents involving medications and rehabilitation methods.
- MS Research Center: Information on the multiple sclerosis research center of New York.
More than half of patients with multiple sclerosis experience cognitive problems that include defects of the memory, attention, and abstraction. Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression, are also frequently found in those with MS. Factors that exacerbate the cognition processes include sleep problems, heat, fatigue, stress, depression, and external distractions. A strict MS treatment plan as well as avoidance of these factors can be excellent coping strategies.
- Cognitive Function in Patients: Learn about the mild cognitive impairments found in a large percentage of MS patients.
- Multiple Sclerosis Study: Cognitive function study of multiple sclerosis to investigate impairment of intellectual patterns.
- Rehabilitation Research: Cognitive dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis.
- Cannabinoids and Cognition: How cannabis has been used for decades to provide therapeutic relief in MS patients.
Multiple Sclerosis Research
New treatment options and important information is presented through multiple sclerosis research organizations, medical centers, and individuals researchers. Current research projects by various medical universities develop programs to study secondary conditions of multiple sclerosis, compare levels of pain, and conduct self-management trails and training. Clinical trails for MS patients are constantly being conducted by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation to find new medical therapies for treatment plans. Government-funded clinical research is also being presented at various National Institutes of Health.
- Research in Multiple Sclerosis: Research information used to find the cause of MS and develop an understanding of the progress of the disease.
- Women’s Hospital Research: Researchers will be conducting trails on various medications for MS patients.
- Multiple Sclerosis Research Laboratory: Research program focuses on autoimmune methods for multiple sclerosis treatment.
- MS Research for Veterans: Developmental program and research dedicated to veterans with multiple sclerosis.
- Studies & Participation: Multiple sclerosis genetic studies and participations featuring new statistical methods for patients.