Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory white matter disease of the central nervous system (CNS). To this day the cause of MS remains unknown but there are strong hints to genetic and environmental factors as well as to a possible role of viral infections. Mostly affected are young adults, women twice as often as men, and at that age MS is the most common cause of non traumatic disability.

The clinical course varies greatly and can hardly be predicted. It can be characterized by distinct attacks, called relapses, on the one hand and continuous disease progression on the other hand. The average lifespan of MS patients is about 10 years shorter than that of the healthy.

MS is mediated by autoreactive T Cells that cross the blood brain barrier and lead to a demyelination and with disease progression also to an axonal and neuronal loss. The typical MS lesions, called MS plaques, can be found in most parts of the brain and the spinal cord. This explains the immense variability of clinical symptoms as palsy and spasticity, pain and paresthesia, Dysfunction of the bladder and the intestine, sexual dysfunctions, ataxia and tremor, cognitive deficits, fatigue, depression, dysphagia and dysarthria.

The baseline therapy in MS is immunomodulatory, aims at the autoreactive immune system and hence are unlikely to have an effect on the central synapses. While these therapeutics are effective in reducing relapse rates and slowing down disease progression, they do not heal MS. For this reason most MS patients need further medication to treat the various neurological symptoms.

Baseline therapeutics in MS (substances were not studied in this project):
Interferon beta, glatiramer acetate, Azathioprine, immunoglobulin, Natalizumab, Fingolimod, Mitoxantrone, Cyclophosphamide


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Medical Treatment by Symtoms