Taking a Look at Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an acquired demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that typically is diagnosed in the second or third decade of life. Normally, nerves are enclosed in myelin sheaths that help facilitate transmission of nerve impulses within the CNS and the peripheral nervous system throughout the body. In patients with MS, the myelin sheath is damaged and eventually degenerates, causing patches of scar tissue called plaques or lesions to occur anywhere randomly on the myelin sheath (Ruto, 2013). This results in impaired nerve conductivity, which interferes with message transmission between the brain and the other parts of the body. As a result, impulse transmission is altered, distorted, short-circuited, or completely absent. This interference in impulse transmission creates muscle weakness, muscle imbalance, and possibly muscle spasms with partial or complete paralysis. Multiple sclerosis also can result in visual impairment and alteration of cognitive abilities, as well as pain, numbness, or tingling sensations (Ruto, 2013). MS affects about 400,000 persons in the USA and approximately 2.1 million worldwide. The average age of onset is between 20–40 years, although it can also occur in young children and in people aged 50 years and more. It is estimated that the direct and indirect healthcare costs of MS in the United States result in approximately $35,000 spent per year per patient. Multiple sclerosis affects women more

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