Similarities and Differences amongst Multiple Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy

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There are differences and similarities between multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. Multiple sclerosis is understood to be an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. However, muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. Multiple sclerosis is seen as progressing asymmetrically from the loss of myelin. Likewise, muscular dystrophy presents with a symmetrical wasting of the muscle and distribution of weakness. Muscular dystrophy is a group of similar conditions that affect the voluntary muscles. Multiple sclerosis is often diagnosed in the late twenties while muscular dystrophy offsets in young and adolescent aged individuals.
Multiple Sclerosis occurs as a result of demyelination of the axons within the central nervous system and neuronal loss.1 The immune system produces antibodies that attack oligodendrocytes. When the oligodendrocytes are destroyed, they produce patches of demyelination referred to as plaques.2 (p.41) These plaques are found in the white matter of the central nervous system. With the loss of myelination of neurons, the transmission of signals may become slowed or blocked.2(p.41) Communication between the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body are hindered.3 Multiple sclerosis may result in the deterioration of the myelin surrounding the nerves, and also the nerves themselves. Unfortunately, this disease process is irreversible, incurable and often debilitating.3 The etiology of

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