What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling,
inflammatory neurological disorder of the central nervous system (brain, spinal
cord, and optic nerves). MS damages the protective insulation (called
myelin) that surrounds the nerves and may also damage the nerves. Demyelination
and scarring occur as the disease progresses.
This interferes with the ability of nerve cells to communicate with each
other, producing the variety of symptoms that may occur.
Signs & Symptoms of MS
Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary from patient
to patient, depending on the amount of damage and which nerves are affected.
Symptoms of MS include:
- Balance problems
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs--typically on one side of the body at a time
or on lower half of the body
- Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time
- Blurred or double vision
- Tingling or pain in parts of the body
- Tremor, lack of coordination
Progression and Patterns of Symptoms
The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are
unpredictable, varying from person to person and from time to time in the same
person. Symptoms often come and go with symptoms sometimes disappearing
for extended periods of time before recurring.
Most patients have episodic patterns of attack and remissions throughout
the course of the disease, while others may have a slowly progressive form of
Evaluation & Diagnosis of MS
Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most common disorders of the central nervous system in
younger adults, affecting three times as many women as men.
At this time, there is no single, definitive laboratory test to diagnose MS and no cure for MS. A diagnosis is made through a neurologic examination and review of a patient’s medical history. Treatments are designed to modify the course of the disease and to treat the symptoms. Our mission is to help patients gain control of their MS and regain their desired quality of life by applying the most comprehensive diagnostic and treatment methods available.
Our team of physicians treats patients in all stages of MS, from the earliest symptoms
through established disease. The MS team uses state-of-the-art MRI facilities,
capable of advanced spectroscopic, diffusion tensor imaging with tractotomy, functional imaging (fMRI) and serial quantitative image analysis to assist in determining if these symptoms are related to MS and to aid in monitoring and evaluating disease evolution and the effects of therapy over time.