What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: James A Wilson, MD, MSc, FRCPC; Chief Editor: James G Smirniotopoulos, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease that attacks myelinated axons in the central nervous system, destroying the myelin and the axon in variable degrees and producing significant physical disability within 20–25 years in more than 30% of patients. White matter tracts are affected, including those of the cerebral hemispheres, infratentorium, and spinal cord. MS lesions, known as plaques, may form in CNS white matter in any location; thus, clinical presentations may be diverse. Continuing lesion formation in MS often leads to physical disability and, sometimes, to cognitive decline. [1]  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain is useful in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis


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