Do viruses cause MS

The onset of an acute demyelinating disease (postinfectious encephalomyelitis) occurs after a number of different infections such as measles and mumps as well as smallpox vaccination. About one quarter of these cases diagnosed as postinfectious encephalomyelitis end up with a diagnosis of MS. This naturally raised the theory that viruses might be the cause of MS. Over the years, research has implicated many infectious agents, such as the measles virus (and other paramyxoviruses), distemper, the...

Is my stuttering due to my MS

However, intermittent difficulty with speech was recognized as a rare manifestation of MS 40 years ago (paroxysmal dysarthria). This difficulty with articulation is often associated with difficulty in finding the right word. It is rarely recognized as a manifestation of MS, and many doctors incorrectly regard it as an emotional problem. Misdiagnosis is unfortunate because this disorder is amenable to treatment. There are a number of other brief (typically seconds...

What causes an MS plaque

The typical MS plaque seen in patients who have died early in their illness or who have had brain biopsies is composed of a mixture of lymphocytes with many more macrophages, without antibody. The macrophages in the plaque contain myelin within their cell bodies in various stages of digestion. Some axons are damaged, but they are relatively preserved as compared with myelin. After the initial insult by these cells, scarring begins. This process varies greatly from one individual to another....

Is MS hereditary

Genetic factors are recognized as playing a role in MS. This is not to say that they cause MS. Although MS is typically a disease of people of European ancestry, it also occurs in African Americans, who share genes common in both African and European populations. The observation that MS is about one half as common in African Americans as white Americans would seem to correlate with a risk related to European ancestry. Among Europeans, MS is much more common in northwestern Europe, particularly...

What is a macrophage

Macrophages (meaning big eaters) are actually monocytes from the blood stream that have been turned on by interacting with lymphocytes, which themselves have been turned on by other macrophages that have encountered a foreign protein. These cells have an amazing appetite and ability to damage tissue. For example, in tuberculosis, macrophages cause the tissue damage to lungs and other tissues. In MS, as seen in Figures 4 and 5, macrophages appear to be the primary cause of myelin damage. Using...

Can stress cause MS

Stress has been shown to be an aggravating factor in MS but not a causal factor. More than 30 years ago, in conjunction with the McGill department of psychiatry in Montreal, we found that major life stress (such as death or serious illness in a child or other family member, marital discord, and loss of employment) was three to four times more common in MS patients than in medical patients who had been referred to psychiatrists for psychiatric consultation and care. Moreover, this stress was...

Are there treatments for loss of genital sensation

A loss of sensation in the genital area can pose problems for both men and women with MS. Fortunately, such a loss of sensation in most patients is usually temporary. In men, the use of Viagra and the other drugs in this group can, in part, overcome erectile dysfunction related to decreased sensation in some cases. Temporary or not, for many women, the use of vibrators can overcome the inability to achieve orgasm. Eros is a specially designed commercially available device to enhance clitoral...

Organizations

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) It is headquartered in New York, has local chapters in most communities. They publish educational pamphlets and sponsor research. Their website, http www.nmss.org, is one of the few truly helpful websites available to MS patients and their families as well as to neurologists and other physicians. Multiple Sclerosis International Federation Information about MS in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Russian is available. International...

What are oligos

Myelin on the nerve fibers (axons) is arranged like beads on a necklace. The cells that make myelin are called oligodendrocytes. Each of these oligodendrocytes sends up to two dozen tentacle-like arms to jelly roll-like nodes of myelin separated by little gaps. Myelin is very important because it helps fibers save 99 of the energy that they would otherwise have to expend. Damage to myelin alone results in messages becoming blocked at the site of damage. Inflammation itself can damage the nerve...

What is the importance ofHSV6 in MS

Currently, a great deal of interest is in the newly recognized family of viruses known as HSV-6. This virus family is distantly related to HSV-1 (the cold sore virus) but is very closely related to the EBV and yet another family of viruses called HSV-7. Both HSV-6 and another closely related virus HSV-7 share two thirds of their DNA structure with the EBV virus. Cross-reactivity of antibody to these viruses might be one explanation of the finding of antibody to EBV in MS. Both HSV-6 and HSV-7,...