Who can get Multiple Sclerosis?

Most experts believe there is no single cause of MS, but it is likely the disease is caused by a combination of factors, which can include


MS can occur in anyone, but occurs most frequently in Caucasian people, particularly those with North European ancestry.

The immune system

Our immune system protects us from outside enemies, such as viruses or bacteria that can cause illness. If our immune system malfunctions and attacks own healthy body parts or issues, it is called an autoimmune disorder. MS is an autoimmune disorder because the immune system attacks the myelin in the brain and spinal cord.

How is Multiple Sclerosis diagnosed?

Multiple Sclerosis is typically diagnosed by observing symptoms over a period of time, combined with the results from a series of medical tests. That is why there is often a delay between the first appearance of symptoms and a confirmed diagnosis of MS. When a doctor suspects a person has MS, he or she will typically:

  • Review the person’s medical history and perform a neurological examination (to check the person’s nervous system)

Other common medical tests for MS include:

Eye examination: Examine the person’s eyes (i.e. to determine whether the person’s optic nerve is inflamed or unusually pale).

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):

MRI scans can reveal areas of inflammation and scarring in the brain and spinal cord, even before a person has developed symptoms. They can also be used to monitor changes in the brain & spinal cord over time.

Lumbar Puncture: A lumbar puncture or spinal tap is a test where a needle is inserted into the lower part of the back (the lumbar spine). During the procedure, a sample of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid) is removed. The cerebrospinal fluid of people who have MS may show specific changes in protein patterns and white blood cell count that are characteristic of this disease. Lumbar punctures are performed under a local anesthesia.

Evoked Potentials: Evoked potentials measure the time it takes for the brain to receive and interpret messages from the body (i.e. the conduction rate of nerve impulses). Small electrodes are placed on the head to monitor the brain wave response to certain types of signals. If myelin damage has occurred, messages will take longer to get through.

There are four types of evoked potentials, including:

  • Visual evoked potential (VEP): is used to check the speed at which the optic nerve transmits signals from the eye to vision centers in the brain.
  • Somatosensory evoked potential (SEP): which checks the speed at which a weak, painless electric shock to the wrist or ankle is transmitted to the brain.
  • Brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP): which measures how quickly sound is transmitted from the ears to the hearing centers in the brain.
  • Motor evoked potential (MEP): which checks the speed at which the muscles react to an electrical stimulus. A definitive diagnosis of MS is made when individuals are identified as having a minimum of two separate MS attacks, affecting more than one part of their body.

For Multiple Sclerosis

In the classic sense, multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS: the brain and spinal cord) that most commonly affects young adults. Sclerosis means “hardening’; multiple sclerosis means that there are multiple area of hardened tissue in the brain and spinal cord due to scarring. Often, patients afflicted with MS have difficulty describing just how they feel. Although the MS patients appreciate and understand this concept, many healthy persons, including physicians, family members, and friends, unfortunately, often do not.

Author's Bio: 

Anju Arora is an avid writer, reader and an 'aesthete'. A digital media marketing enthusiast with prolong experience and understanding of marketing brands online related to health i.e. What is MS.