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What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is believed to have been discovered over many centuries ago. Since then questions have been raised but it is only now that they are actually answered.

After numerous research and many series of studies have been done with regards to multiple sclerosis, it has been found out that multiple sclerosis is one of the diseases affecting the nervous system that are usually experienced by the people.

More about its etiology

This disease affects people belonging to all ages from all walks of life, with a preference towards young individuals. According to statistical research, the women are the most common carriers of this disease, especially to those who reside in the northern parts of the globe.

It has been found out due to research that multiple sclerosis has a genetic susceptibility. However, it is not directly inherited.

Moreover, since this disease predominantly affects the nervous system, neurological symptoms are being manifested. Such symptoms include paralysis, walking problems, loss of vision and numbness. These symptoms are often diverse, extremely confusing and patternless. This makes it even more difficult for a definite diagnosis.

These symptoms occur because of abnormalities in the nervous system due to the inability to transmit or the incorrect transmission of signals. A fatty substance that surrounds and acts as an insulator for the nerve fibers is called myelin. It is the myelin that the nerves need in order to correctly conduct the necessary amount of electricity for the body’s normal functioning. However, in multiple sclerosis, the myelin is damaged.

As an autoimmune disease, the body’s own cells and proteins attack its own kind, failing to recognize it as self. The immune system naturally attacks foreign bodies, but since multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder, the body’s very own cells attack its own healthy cells and tissues.

Its early years

Back in the 19th century, people would only listen and believe to hearsay, superstition and the wisdom of the elderly or those who normally take care of whoever was sick. Medications were never tested, and physicians mainly depended on their observing skills for a definite diagnosis. However, upon looking at their journals, it could be derived that they were indeed correct in diagnosing such cases as multiple sclerosis because the information written certainly leads to such disease.

In the 19th century, specifically 1838, there were already drawings of patients who had multiple sclerosis. Although the physicians back then did not have a full understanding of multiple sclerosis and what the disease could lead to, the drawings clearly indicate and who what is today known as multiple sclerosis.

Its detailed discovery

It was a professor named Jean-Martin Charcot who discovered all about multiple sclerosis. It was 1868 and he was a professor of neurology specifically at the University of Paris during the time. He has been given the tag “father of neurology
because of his many contributions to the world of neurology.

It has been recorded that Professor Charcot got to observe a woman who had tremors which were very new to him. Aside from the tremors, he also saw other neurological symptoms such as abnormal movements of the eyes and blurring of vision. Since the medicine back then was far from being advanced, his patient died. During the autopsy, he found out that her brain had plaques or scars that doctors now know are characteristic of multiple sclerosis.


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