May 30, 2012 is World MS Day
On the 30th there will be multiple sclerosis (MS) events around the world. The disease, which is often diagnosed very late, has so far not been curable, but the latest research results give those affected hope that the symptoms can be alleviated and the disease slowed down.
Multiple sclerosis has 1000 faces MS is a neurological disorder in which inflammation of the central nervous system occurs - in different places in the brain and spinal cord. The so-called myelin, the protective layer of the nerve fibers, is damaged or even destroyed. The cause of the disease is still unknown, despite intensive research. MS is also considered to be particularly insidious because the symptoms can be very different, very concealed and only occasionally. A corresponding diagnosis is therefore often made very late, sometimes after a few years. In order to track down the disease, neurological examinations, magnetic resonance imaging and nerve water examinations are carried out.
The first signs of MS may include tingling hands and feet, abnormal sensations, visual disturbances, feelings of numbness, paralysis, balance and strength disorders. However, the symptoms in themselves are not yet a clear indication of MS. In addition, concentration disorders and cognitive impairments sometimes occur in those affected.
Because of the many different symptoms and manifestations of the disease, MS is also known as the disease of 1000 faces. Many skills are lost in those affected because they can no longer coordinate movements. Because of the damaged nerve fibers, motor skills and fine motor skills no longer work or only function to a limited extent. The wrong switching of the nerves can also result in other impairments and disabilities. For example, the bladder and intestines may malfunction.
As a rule, MS occurs in episodes, the course and severity of which can be very different. The frequency of relapses also varies greatly. Affected people are often dependent on a wheelchair, but this is not necessarily the case.
Risk genes for MS discovered An international team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford carried out a large-scale study last year to examine the genes of around 9,700 MS patients. These were then compared to the genetic makeup of 17,400 healthy subjects. The researchers discovered 29 new genetic risk factors for multiple sclerosis. Most of the genes identified are linked to the immune system, which leads the researchers to suspect that MS is triggered by an autoimmune reaction in which the immune system is directed against itself.
In addition to the genetic risk factors, experts believe that infections such as human herpes viruses or bacterial pathogens could also cause MS. (ag)
Read also about MS:
New risk genes for multiple sclerosis discovered
MS diagnosis: recognize the first symptoms
Preventive vaccination against multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis flare-ups often in summer