About MS


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting movement, sensation and bodily functions. It is caused by the destruction of the myelin insulation covering nerve fibres (neurons) in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).


MS North West Therapy Centre Sligo
MS North West Therapy Centre in Sligo

Multiple Sclerosis is a nerve disorder caused by the destruction of the insulating layer surrounding neurons in the brain and the rest of the body. When the myelin is destroyed, nerves no longer communicate properly with other parts of the body. Multiple Sclerosis causes a wide variety of symptoms and can affect vision, balance, strength, sensation, coordination, and bodily functions.

Research shows that women are almost twice as likely to get Multiple Sclerosis as men, especially in their earlier years. Multiple Sclerosis rates are higher in the United States, Canada and Northern Europe. On the other hand, Multiple Sclerosis is very rare among Asians, North and South Americans, Indians and Eskimos.

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, caused by an attack by the body’s own immune system. For unknown reasons, immune cells attack and destroy the myelin sheath, which speeds transmission and prevents electrical activity in one cell from short-circuiting to another cell. Disruption of communication between the brain and other parts of the body prevent normal passage of sensations and control messages, leading to the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. The demyelinated areas appear as plaques, small round areas of grey neuron without the white myelin covering.
The progression of symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis is correlated with the development of new plaques in the part of the brain or spinal cord controlling the affected areas.
Because there appears to be no pattern in the appearance of new plaques, the progression of Multiple Sclerosis can be unpredictable.

Despite considerable research, the trigger for this autoimmune destruction is still unknown. At various times, evidence has pointed to genes, environmental factors, viruses, or a combination of these.

The role of an environmental factor is suggested by studies of the effect of migration on the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis. Age plays an important role in determining this change in risk — young people in low-risk groups who move into countries with higher Multiple Sclerosis rates display the risk rates of their new surroundings, while older migrants retain the risk of their original home country. One interpretation of these studies is that an environmental factor, either protective or harmful, is acquired in earlier life. The risk of contracting the disease later in life reflects the effects of their earlier environment.


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