Multiple Sclerosis: Subtypes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
Updated/Revised Date: 2023-01-30
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Publications
Synopsis: Information on Multiple Sclerosis and subtypes of MS, formerly known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata. MS is not considered a hereditary disease; however, some genetic variations have been shown to increase the risk. The probability is higher in relatives of an affected person, with a greater risk among those more closely related. In identical twins, both are affected about 30% of the time, while around 5% of non-identical twins and 2.5% of siblings are affected, with a lower percentage of half-siblings. An estimated 400,000 Americans have MS. It generally occurs in people between the ages of 20 and 50. The disease is twice as common in women as in men. The illness is probably an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system responds as if part of your body is a foreign substance.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata, is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. MS is a disease in which your immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers your nerves. Myelin damage disrupts communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Ultimately, the nerves themselves may deteriorate, a process that's currently irreversible.
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has included Malignant Multiple Sclerosis as a Compassionate Allowance to expedite a disability claim.
MS is not considered a hereditary disease; however, some genetic variations have been shown to increase the risk. The probability is higher in relatives of an affected person, with a greater risk among those more closely related. In identical twins, both are affected about 30% of the time, while around 5% of non-identical twins and 2.5% of siblings are affected, with a lower percentage of half-siblings. If both parents are impacted, the risk in their children is ten times that of the general population. MS is also more common in some ethnic groups than others.
An estimated 400,000 Americans have MS. It generally occurs in people between the ages of 20 and 50. The disease is twice as common in women as in men. The illness is probably an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system responds as if part of your body is a foreign substance.
Multiple sclerosis refers to the white matter's scars (sclerosis - better known as plaques or lesions). Multiple sclerosis may take several forms, with new symptoms occurring either in discrete attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms).
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MS can cause a variety of symptoms, including changes in sensation (hypoesthesia), muscle weakness, abnormal muscle spasms, or difficulty in moving; difficulties with coordination and balance (ataxia); problems in speech (dysarthria) or swallowing (dysphagia), visual problems (nystagmus, optic neuritis, or diplopia), fatigue and acute or chronic pain syndromes, bladder and bowel difficulties, cognitive impairment, or emotional symptomatology (mainly depression).
MS affects the neurons in the brain and spinal cord areas known as the white matter. These cells carry signals between the gray matter areas, where the processing is done, and between these and the rest of the body. In MS, your body directs antibodies and white blood cells against proteins in the myelin sheath surrounding nerves in your brain and spinal cord. This causes inflammation and injury to the sheath and your nerves. The result may be multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis). The damage slows or blocks muscle coordination, visual sensation, and other nerve signals.
Multiple sclerosis relapses are often unpredictable and can occur unexpectedly without obvious inciting factors. Some attacks, however, are preceded by common triggers. Relapses occur more frequently during spring and summer than during autumn and winter. Infections, such as the common cold, influenza, and gastroenteritis, increase the risk of a relapse. The disease varies in severity, ranging from mild illness to one that results in permanent disability.
Despite the ongoing efforts of medical scientists to reveal the factors responsible for causing multiple sclerosis, the exact reasons why the disorder occurs in otherwise healthy persons remain unknown. Although various factors are suspected of triggering multiple sclerosis (viral or bacterial infections) or facilitating its progression (genetic dysfunctions and various external environmental factors), medical scientists haven't yet reached a consensus regarding the exact causes of the disorder.
At first, multiple sclerosis causes impairments only at the central nervous system level. In more advanced stages of progression, multiple sclerosis can involve virtually any innervated region (any part of the body that contains a network of nerves). Without proper medical treatment - which is most effective when administered in the early stages of disease - multiple sclerosis can cause a variety of disabilities and sometimes even death.
Depending on its patterns of progression, as well as the intensity and frequency of its generated symptoms, multiple sclerosis can be categorized into seven different subtypes:
- 1 - The first subtype of multiple sclerosis is relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RR MS), the most common autoimmune disorder. According to statistics, more than 80 percent of all multiple sclerosis cases are of the relapsing-remitting subtype. This subtype is characterized by symptomatic remission and relapse phases (sudden intensification of symptoms). The duration of relapse and remission phases vary from one patient to another, lasting anywhere from several weeks to several years.
- 2 - The second subtype of multiple sclerosis - primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PP MS), accounts for around 20 percent of all multiple sclerosis cases. The major characteristics of this subtype are a gradual progression of the disease, with very short phases of remission.
- 3 - The third multiple sclerosis subtypes is similar to the PP MS subtype and is called secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SP MS). Patients with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis have a 50 percent chance of developing secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis.
- 4 - The fourth subtype of multiple sclerosis is called progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (PR MS) and is characterized by gradual progression with frequent phases of symptomatic exacerbation.
- 5 - The fifth multiple sclerosis subtypes alternate between the disease's primary-progressive, secondary-progressive, and progressive-relapsing forms.
- 6 - The sixth multiple sclerosis subtypes is benign, characterized by an initial symptomatic flare that can be followed by slow or no progression at all.
- 7 - The seventh and last multiple sclerosis subtypes are also sporadic. It is called multiple malignant sclerosis and involves rapid progression and very intense symptoms. This subtype is, in most cases, deadly.
Although there is no known cure for multiple sclerosis, several therapies have proven helpful. The primary aims of therapy are returning function after an attack, preventing new attacks, and preventing disability.
- The average age when MS symptoms first appear is between 30 and 35 years.
- MS is more common among Caucasians and people of Northern or Central European descent.
- MS is much more common in females than males, about 2 to 3 times more common in relapsing-remitting MS. This is also true for other autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.
- MS is the most widespread disabling neurological condition of young adults worldwide. You can get MS at any age, but most people have diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.
- It's estimated that more than 400,000 people in the United States and about 2.5 million people worldwide have MS. In the United States, about 200 new cases are diagnosed each week.
New Discovery Contributes Towards Future Treatment
A new type of T cell, TH-GM, produces a cytokine, GM-CSF, to recruit and activate other inflammatory cells, including macrophages, to cause neuroinflammation, demyelination and nerve system damage.
A multidisciplinary research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has made a breakthrough discovery of a new type of immune cells that may help in the development of future treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS).
The team found that a new type of immune T helper cells named TH-GM cells play a crucial role in the immune system and pathogenesis of neuronal inflammation.
The findings shed light on a possible new avenue for therapeutic intervention, which can be used independently or with other treatment options to improve outcomes in the treatment of MS.
Team showed that STAT5, a member of the STAT family of proteins, programs TH-GM and initiates the immune response to an auto-antigen in responding to a signal from an interleukin, IL-7, causing neuroinflammation, pathogenesis, and damage in the central nervous system. Blocking IL-7 or STAT5 would provide a significant therapeutic benefit for this disease. The study was first published online on 21 November in the journal Cell Research by Nature Publishing Group.
The STAT family of proteins and their signaling pathway (called JAK-STAT) were originally discovered by Prof. Fu and his colleagues in 1992. Disturbance of this pathway was shown to be a major cause of many inflammatory diseases. The newly discovered IL-7-STAT5 by Prof. Fu and his team in neuroinflammation significantly expands this line of medical research, development, and therapeutic intervention in several major diseases.
Subtopics and Associated Subjects
|Latest Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Publications|
|New Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Clinical Trial Begins Enrollment|
Clinical trial of Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation versus Best Available Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (BEAT-MS) begins enrollment.
Publish Date: 2020-01-07 - Updated: 2020-02-10
|Stigma Increases Risk of Depression for People with Multiple Sclerosis|
Those with MS who feel stigmatized are more likely to have depression, having a support system of friends and family and a sense of autonomy may help reduce the harmful effects of stigma..
Publish Date: 2018-03-01 - Updated: 2018-03-28
|$7M MS Progression Cohort to Research Multiple Sclerosis in Canada|
Research proposals will invite researchers to establish a Canadian cohort of people living with MS to study progression in the disease.
Publish Date: 2017-03-31
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