Multiple Sclerosis - Causes

Were you, a friend, or relative diagnosed with MS? What do you think the cause might be?

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What causes multiple sclerosis?

The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown. In the last 20 years, researchers have focused on disorders of the immune system and genetics for explanations. The immune system is the body's defender against foreign invaders and is highly organized and regulated. If triggered by an aggressor or foreign object, the immune system mounts a defensive action which identifies and attacks the invader and then withdraws. This process depends upon rapid communication among the immune cells and the production of cells that can destroy the intruder. In multiple sclerosis, researchers suspect that a foreign agent such as a virus alters the immune system so that the immune system perceives myelin as an intruder and attacks it. The attack by the immune system on the tissues that it is supposed to protect is called autoimmunity, and multiple sclerosis is believed to be a disease of autoimmunity. While some of the myelin may be repaired after the assault, some of the nerves are stripped of their myelin covering (become demyelinated). Scarring also occurs, and material is deposited into the scars and forms plaques.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: mashaddy, 45-54 Female Published: February 18

Yes my ex-husband was diagnosed with MS and died after 7 years.

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Comment from: nena, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I was diagnosed in 1986, before symptoms started. I am a pianist, suddenly unable to open my hands wide enough to get 8 keys. Nobody in my family had MS, nor my grandparents. Now a cousin younger than me has MS, she is 40. I have primary progressive MS. I do not walk for the last 18 years, I was born in 1952. I have had 6 strokes and 1 heart attack.

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