Multiple Sclerosis

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What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (abbreviated MS) is an autoimmune disease which affects around 100,000 people [1] in the UK, it was first diagnosed in 1849, which essentially doesn’t have a cure. It is an example of a chronic autoimmune disease, during which the patient's own immune system mistakes myelin for a foreign body and attacks the cells. MS targets neurons that are responsible for the creation of thoughts, sense perception, and the communication between the different parts of the body. It occurs due to demyelination of the fatty myelin sheath that surrounds axons in nerve cells. This demyelination prevents the propogation of action potentials between the Nodes of Ranvier this essentially leads to the loss of communication between nerve cells and results in the loss of muscle function giving symptoms such as vision, balance and bladder issues. [2]

Physical Symptoms

Approximately 2.5 million people worldwide have MS. “MS is twice as common in females as it is in males, and it is usually diagnosed between the age of 20 and 40, however there have been cases where MS has been found in children and in the elderly” [3].

"Restrictions in mobility (walking, transfers, bed mobility etc.) are common in individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis. Within 10 years after the onset of MS one-third of patients reach a score of 6 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), requiring the use of a unilateral walking aid, and by 30 years the proportion increases to 83%. Within five years of onset the EDSS is six in 50% of those with the progressive form of MS." [4]

Cognitive Symptoms

Studies have shown that up to 50 to 66% of multiple sclerosis patients will experience some form of cognitive dysfunction [5]


Treatment for a relapse usually involves either:

Steroids can help speed up your recovery from a relapse, but they don't prevent further relapses or stop MS getting worse over time.

They are only given for a short period of time to avoid possible steroid side effects, such as osteoporosis (weak bones), weight gain and diabetes, although some people will still experience problems.

Not using steroids more than three times a year (if possible) will also help to reduce the risk of side effects [6].


  3. Multiple sclerosis” Psychology Wiki
  4. Weinshenker BG, Bass B, Rice GP, et al. (1989). "The natural history of multiple sclerosis: a geographically based study. I. Clinical course and disability". Brain 112 (1): 133–46.
  5. Rosalind et al. 138
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