• Stella Yan

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month




March marks Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness month. This day was first celebrated in 2003 by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to raise awareness, educate society, fundraise, and draw the attention of scientists to make further advancements in understanding the disease.


Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body attacks its own tissues. Around the world, about 2.5 million people suffer from multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system and therefore can have significant effects on the brain and the spinal cord. The malfunction of the immune system destroys the substance that protects nerve fibers known as myelin. When myelin is damaged, signals in the pathway are slowed or blocked. Although its causes are unknown, genetic and environmental factors appear to contribute.





Some warning signs that impair movement are numbness or weakness in limbs, electric-shock sensations during neck movements, and tremors. Partial or complete loss of vision, double vision, and blurry vision are common visual effects. Slurred speech, fatigue, dizziness, and tingling in parts of the body are further implications. Although the symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis vary, permanent nerve damage and deterioration can be consequences. In severe cases, people suffering from multiple sclerosis may be unable to walk.


Multiple sclerosis runs a relapsing-remitting disease course. Moreover, people with multiple sclerosis often experience periods of relapses over several days and/or weeks. These periods of new symptoms are usually followed by a period of disease remission that can last months or years.


However, scientists are working on discovering more about the disease. Most recently, in 2018, NYU published a study regarding a stem cell treatment that could reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Two patients who were previously unable to walk were said to be able to complete a walking test after injections.


There are many ways to show your support for those affected by multiple sclerosis. It is essential to get educated and participate in acknowledging this week by wearing the orange ribbon and finding MS walks in your community!



Sources:

"Multiple Sclerosis." Mayoclinic, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269.

"Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month March 2022." National Today, nationaltoday.com/multiple-sclerosis-awareness-month/.

Image source: everydayhealth.com

Image source: mayoclinic.org

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