|Multiple sclerosis (Tutorial)|
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Types of MS
New symptoms for MS can occur in different forms, as isolated attacks (called relapsing forms), or building up over time (called progressive forms). The disease usually begins between the ages of 20 and 50, and is twice as common in women as in men.
Between attacks, symptoms may disappear completely; however, permanent neurological problems often remain, especially as the disease advances.
Genetics and environment
MS is usually diagnosed based on the presenting signs and symptoms, and the results of supporting medical tests. The most commonly used diagnostic tools are neuroimaging, analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, and evoked potentials. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spine, may show areas of demyelination, as lesions or plaques.
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatments attempt to improve function after an attack, and prevent new attacks, although medications used to treat MS, while modestly effective, have side effects and may be poorly tolerated.
The long-term outcome is difficult to predict, but people with MS live, on average, 5 to 10 years less than those unaffected. Good outcomes are more often seen in women, those who develop the disease early in life, those with a relapsing course, and those who initially experienced few attacks.
In 2015, about 2.3 million people were affected globally, with rates varying widely in different regions, and among different populations. That year about 18,900 people died from MS, up from 12,000 in 1990.
MS was first described in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot. The name multiple sclerosis refers to the numerous scars (better known as plaques, or lesions) that develop on the white matter of the brain, and spinal cord. 100px|left
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