Expert neurologists describe multiple sclerosis (MS) and provide an overview of the disease. MS is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Inflammation in the CNS results in loss of myelin, leading to impaired neurological function. The experts also talk about who gets MS, and the role of age and gender.
Expert neurologists talk about the underlying causes of MS and the current understanding of its pathophysiology. While the cause of MS is still not known, experts believe that a combination of factors may be involved. This discussion covers possible risk factors for developing MS – including genetics, environment, latitude, ethnicity, gender, and age – and whether it is possible to prevent MS.
Expert neurologists describe the variety of symptoms that may be associated with MS, and how long these symptoms may last. Common symptoms include numbness and tingling, vision problems, weakness, difficulty walking, fatigue, depression, balance problems, poor coordination, tremor, and memory or focus impairment. The types of pain that occur in MS are also discussed.
Expert neurologists describe what a newly diagnosed person with MS should expect in terms of disease progression. They discuss the four basic categories of MS: Relapsing remitting MS, primary progressive MS, secondary progressive MS, and progressive relapsing MS. The likelihood that a newly diagnosed patient with MS will acquire a severe disability is also discussed. With today's approved treatments and management strategies, most people with MS are able to lead full and productive lives.
Expert neurologists describe how they establish the diagnosis of MS, including the tests they order and how these tests are interpreted. Proper diagnosis involves taking a medical history, a neurologic examination, blood tests, and other various tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spinal fluid analysis.
In this video, expert neurologists describe the differential diagnosis process that is used to exclude other neurological conditions that can mimic MS. Examples of other conditions that mimic MS include: Lyme disease, sarcoidosis, Sjogren's syndrome, syphilis, lupus erythematosus, and vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Expert neurologists describe magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spinal tap procedures, and how these are used in the diagnosis of MS. An MRI scans for MS plaques in the central nervous system. A spinal tap is an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid for the diagnosis of MS. The experts also briefly discuss the evoked potentials test.
Expert neurologists provide an overview of the treatment and management of MS. There are three types of therapy used to treat MS: drugs to treat acute attacks; drugs that modify the course of the disease (called disease modifying agents); and interventions to treat symptoms. The role of diet, exercise, health supplements, and lifestyle changes are also discussed.
Expert neurologists provide an overview of the different interventions used to manage MS symptoms. Interventions to treat symptoms can include drug treatments or may include non-drug based strategies, such as physical therapy and lifestyle changes.
Expert neurologists discuss the treatment of acute attacks in MS, including the various drugs that are commonly used – such as intravenous corticosteroids and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The drugs used to treat acute attacks are believed to help shorten the length and severity of the attack. Experts also talk about what happens when excessive heat triggers a "pseudo-attack" in patients with MS.
Expert neurologists provide an overview of disease modifying agents that alter the course of MS. Examples include interferon-beta, glatiramer acetate, mitoxantrone, natalizumab, teriflunomide, fingolimod, and dimethyl fumarate. The experts also talk about how these drugs are administered and emphasize that it is important for patients to discuss with their physicians how to best choose the right therapy that will balance the benefits of a given drug treatment against any potential risks or side effects.