Multiple sclerosis is an ailment that affects the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord causing disablement. MS is an autoimmune disorder where immune system targets oligodendrocytes causing the protective myelin sheath of neurons to disappear, which in turn causes communication problem between brain and the rest of the body. Myelin sheath eventually disappear leaving scar tissue or sclerosis hence giving the name multiple sclerosis of scar of multiple areas (Scolding & Wilkins, 2012).
The funding regarding detailed study of MS is discussed below as history, etiology, types, symptoms and treatment.
The history of understanding and recognizing MS dates back to the end years of the nineteenth century when the foremost doctors around the world came to comprehend that MS was a specific disorder. Dr. Walter Moxon identified MS in England in the year 1873, and in the United States, Dr. Edward Seguin also established the same in 1878 (Menon et al., 2013). It became common knowledge among physicians that the disease is seen more frequently in women than in men and cause many different neurological symptoms and is not directly inherited.
Etiology of MS includes the causes of the disease. Although, the specific cause of the disease is still unknown researchers believe that several different factors can act together or separately in causing the disease.
- Immune system:
The activation and differentiation of CD4+ auto-reactive T cells into Th1 cells are important factors in the long-term evolution of the disease. Antibodies, CD8+ T cells, complement and innate immune cells, mediate damage of the target tissue. Regulatory CD4+ T cells, Th2 cells, NK cells and others may be partly accountable for the chronic progressive or relapsing-remitting nature of the disease (Iezzoni, 2010).
- Environmental factors:
Exposure to sunlight and production of vitamin D, viral infections such as Epstein-Barr (mononucleosis), Varicella zoster and increased amount of salt in triggering immune response may play an important role in causing MS (Iezzoni, 2010).
- Genetic factors:
Although MS is not inherited genetically, a number of genetic variations have been identified to increase the risk. These include differences in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system. Alleles of the MHC namely DR15 and DQ6 found to be associated with MS. Other loci such as C554 and HLA-DRB1 are also involved (Iezzoni, 2010).
- Relapsing Remitting MS or RRMS:
RRMS is the most common appearance of multiple sclerosis that occurs in 85 percent of people suffering from MS. When new symptoms materialize, people suffering from RRMS have relapses of flare-ups or exacerbations (Malik, Donnelly & Barnett, 2014).
- Secondary Progressive MS or SPMS:
In SPMS, Symptoms tend to worsen as the disease progress, either including or excluding the episodes of relapses or remissions. Majority of the people diagnosed with RRMS tend to progress to SPMS (Malik, Donnelly & Barnett, 2014).
- Primary Progressive MS or PPMS:
This is an uncommon variant of MS, stirring in about 10% of the cases. Symptoms tend to degenerate slowly form beginning to end in this type of MS. Relapses or remissions are however, absent (Malik, Donnelly & Barnett, 2014).
- Progressive Relapsing MS or PRMS:
PRMS is an infrequent type of MS seen only in 5% of the cases is characterized by steady deterioration of diseased condition from the start along with acute relapses and without remissions (Malik, Donnelly & Barnett, 2014).
Symptoms of MS vary in a wide range. Typical symptoms include bladder and bowel obstructions, impairment of cognitive function, emotional changes and depression; and fatigue in 90% of the cases. Dizziness and vertigo is a common associated symptom of MS along with Tremors and muscle spasms. Sexual dysfunction is a common problem among both men and women (Scolding & Wilkins, 2012).
There is no cure existing for multiple sclerosis but for the relapsing forms of MS, Several disease-modifying drugs are proposed.
- Corticosteroids is used for suppressing immune systems (Scolding & Wilkins, 2012).
- Interferon beta 1a or b is used to lessen worsening of symtoms (Scolding & Wilkins, 2012).
- Copaxone (Glatiramer) and Mitoxantrone (Novantrone)is used to stop the immune system from attacking myelin sheath cells (Scolding & Wilkins, 2012).
- Aubagio (teriflunomide)is administered one daily for adults with relapsing forms of MS (Scolding & Wilkins, 2012).
The generalized idea about MS and the types, causes, symptoms and common treatment options have been already discussed above. This part of the study includes consequences of MS along with rehabilitation options and alternative therapies proposed for treating MS.
MS varies considerably from person to person hence; no one can predict the future implications perfectly. However, MS is not a fatal disease for the vast majority and disability is not to be anticipated in all cases. Several studies showed 95% of normal life expectancy in people with MS (Davidson et al., 2013).
Rehabilitation is intended to assist the MS patient to improve or maintain their capacity to function in personal and professional life. Rehabilitation programs usually include Physical therapy, Occupational, Speech and swallowing and Vocational rehabilitation. Cognitive rehabilitation is also done for assisting people in managing specific problems in thinking and perception (Davidson et al., 2013).
Cannabis exact is already in the phase III clinical trials for experimental and alternative therapies of MS. It is considered as experimental drug option for treating relapsing forms of MS. Apart from that Plasmapheresis which involves withdrawing whole blood from the patient and replacing with new plasma is also an option for alternative therapies and have proved to be effective (Davidson et al., 2013).
MS is complex disease and present itself with a variety of symptoms and in many forms. People affected suffering from MS not only suffer from physical impairment but also suffer from depression and isolation. From the above discussions, it can be concluded that even though MS cannot be cured there are definitely many options for improving the quality of life of people suffering from it.
Multiple sclerosis patients frequently undergo depression hence family of these patients needs to be supportive and patient. Multiple treatment options can be recommended to try for MS treatment. Multi-drug approach along with physical therapy is a good way of approaching Ms associated symptoms. Conservative treatment although proved to be effective but people need to opt for alternative therapies for research advancements for finding cure of this disease.
Davidson, Fallon, Slomski, & Cataldo, Tish, Fleming, Genevieve, Laura L. T. Jean. (2013). Multiple Sclerosis. 2228-2235. Retrieved from
Iezzoni, L. (2010). Multiple Sclerosis. : ABC-CLIO. Retrieved from
Malik, O., Donnelly, A., & Barnett, M. (2014). Fast Facts: Multiple Sclerosis : Multiple Sclerosis (3). Oxford, GB: Health Press. Retrieved from
Menon, S., Shirani, A., Zhao, Y., Oger, J., Traboulsee, A., Freedman, M., & Tremlett, H. (2013). Characterising aggressive multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 84(11), 1192.
Scolding, Neil, & Wilkins, Alastair. (2012). Multiple sclerosis (Oxford neurology library Multiple sclerosis). Retrieved from