Definition, Main Symptoms and Methods of Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

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Updated: Mar 16, 2023
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder that is progressive. (Nociti, Batocchi, Luigetti, Conte, Lorusso, Roiati, & Sabatelli, 2011) An autoimmune disease is when the immune system destroys the individual’s tissues. (Tortora & Derrickson, 2017) This disease affects the central nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord. (Nociti et al., 2011) Multiple sclerosis causes inflammation, degeneration, and demyelination. (Autoimmune diseases and disorders, 2015) The severity of this condition varies from individual to individual. (Autoimmune diseases and disorders, 2015)

Multiple sclerosis is caused by T cells that attack the body’s myelin sheath. (Tortora & Derrickson, 2017) The axons of neurons surround the myelin sheath. (Tortora & Derrickson, 2017) Multiple sclerosis has a primary target for attack: the oligodendrocytes, large glial cells in the central nervous system. (Compston & Coles, 2002) Oligodendrocytes are responsible for the synthesizing and maintenance of myelin sheaths that are surrounded by nerve axons. (Compston & Coles, 2002) Multiple sclerosis alters the central nervous system’s neurons, including the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve. (Compston & Coles, 2002)

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Demyelination causes many symptoms that occur with multiple sclerosis. Phosphenes and Lhermitte’s symptoms are caused by demyelinating axons releasing voluntary and increased mechanical sensitivity. (Compston & Coles, 2002) Phosphenes are flashes of light during eye movement. (Compston & Coles, 2002) Lhermitte’s symptom is an electrical sensation that occurs down the spine and legs during neck flexion. (Compston & Coles, 2002) The partially demyelinated axons can cause Uhthoff’s phenomenon, which is the appearance of symptoms after exercising or taking a hot shower because the body cannot sustain membrane capacitance when induced by an increased temperature. (Compston & Coles, 2002) Fatigue is widespread for individuals affected by multiple sclerosis. The body’s physical and cognitive tasks increase fatigue during and after completing jobs. (Compston & Coles, 2002) The following movement is disrupted: eyes, axial muscles, limbs, and bulbar musculature when lesions are on the brain and cerebellar pathways. (Compston, 2002) Abnormalities in the spinal cord due to multiple sclerosis affect motor, sensory, and autonomic functions. (Compston & Coles, 2002)

Patients newly diagnosed with active multiple sclerosis have two approved first-line agents available. (Ransohoff, 2007) Some patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis do not need immediate medical treatment. (Ransohoff, 2007) The two available agents used to treat multiple sclerosis are interferon beta and glatiramer acetate. (Ransohoff, 2007) These two agents may provide adequate disease control, but if they are ineffective, further evaluation is recommended. (Ransohoff, 2007) There are alternative agents available. There are therapeutic options available for patients who have inflammatory relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, which include the following: immunosuppression with cyclophosphamide or mitoxantrone, scheduled pulse therapy with intravenous corticosteroids, and treatment with natalizumab. (Ransohoff, 2007) Natalizumab is not available for patients with newly diagnosed or progressive multiple sclerosis. (Ransohoff, 2007)

Several holistic treatments are available to explore for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial if used as an add-on treatment; however, after six months, it was found that cell proliferation was decreased. (Claflin, Ingrid, & Taylor, 2018) Omega 3 is another supplement that is worth considering. (Claflin et al., 2018) In the study, biotin showed a reduction in the progression of the disease. Ginkgo showed no change in an individual’s disease progression or improvement; it was tolerated well. (Claflin et al., 2018) Exercise is another option for holistic treatment. There were many studies completed involving exercise. Exercise can help with muscle strength. Balance improvement was noted in a few studies. (Claflin et al., 2018) Cannabis extract has shown through studies that it can improve symptoms associated with incontinence, spasticity, and pain. (Claflin et al., 2018) Psychotherapy is an option available to talk through how this disease may affect your life.

Adaptive immunity is the body’s ability to defend against specific invading agents, including the following: bacteria, toxins, viruses, and foreign tissues. (Tortora & Derrickson, 2017) Adaptive immunity involves B cells and T cells, which are lymphocytes. (Thompson, Baranzini, Geurts, Hemmer, & Ciccarelli, 2018) Multiple sclerosis involves inflammation, which affects the central nervous system only. (Thompson et al., 2018) This indicates that specific antigens recruit T and B cells within the CNS. (Thompson et al., 2018)

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Definition, Main Symptoms and Methods of Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. (2023, Mar 09). Retrieved from