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Multiple Sclerosis

Description

Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. Today, new treatments and research are giving new hope to people affected by the disease.

Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Who is at Risk?

MS is not contagious and is not directly inherited, although heredity is a factor. People from different ethnic groups have different tendencies to develop MS. It is most common among people of Northern European ancestry, although African Americans and Hispanics develop MS as well. Other ethnic groups – Intuits, African blacks, and Southeast Asians – are much less likely to have MS. The average person in the United States has about one chance in 750 of developing MS. But relatives of people with MS, such as children, siblings or nonidentical twins, have a higher chance – ranging from one in 100 to one in 40. In addition to genes, other factors – perhaps exposure to germs or viruses – play a part in causing MS. That is why scientists say that MS is not directly inherited.

Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Recent Multiple Sclerosis Research and News at The Scripps Research Institute

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