Understanding MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition affecting the brain and the spinal cord which form the central nervous system (CNS). In MS, the coating that protects nerves (myelin) is damaged, and this causes a range of symptoms.

Myelin protects nerve pathways in the body and is essential for the normal tranmission of messages within the CNS, allowing messages to be transmitted quickly and effectively throughout the brain and spine.

It is not known what causes MS but we do know that the immune system,which normally helps to fight off infections, mistakes myelin for a foreign body and attacks it. This affects the CNS pathways to varying degrees, leaving patchy damage known as lesions or plaques.

This damage disrupts messages travelling along nerve pathways, leading to a variety of symptoms. As well as damaging the myelin, there can sometimes be damage to the actual nerve pathways too.

Recent progress in research has enabled much improved treatment and management and MS Research will aim to keep everyone informed of new developments. Our focus is on medical research to help continue the progress towards eventually defeating MS.

Common Abbreviations and Acronyms

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