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Information on the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis on the occasion of World MS Day
Around 130,000 people in Germany live with multiple sclerosis (MS). On the occasion of World MS Day on May 29, the non-profit Hertie Foundation, as the largest private sponsor of brain research in Germany, provides information in a current press release about autoimmune disease MS in general, how people with their disease are treated and the latest approaches to MS research .
The Hertie Foundation explains that there is still a lot of uncertainty associated with the chronic multiple sclerosis disease, but also myths and prejudices. "MS means muscle wasting, is a mental illness and inevitably leads to a life in a wheelchair", so the example of widespread misjudgments mentioned in the press release. In fact, MS is still an incurable disease that affects around 2.5 million people worldwide, but those affected can “live, work and grow old comparatively well with MS today,” write the experts at the Hertie Foundation.
Neurological deficiency symptoms in MS The inflammatory, chronic disease of the central nervous system MS is due to the penetration of the body's own immune cells into the brain or the destruction of the protective sheaths of the nerve fibers initiated by the immune cells there. The following inflammations in the central nervous system can lead to different neurological deficits, such as feeling disorders or numbness in the legs. Visual disturbances are also more often the result of an MS disease. In addition, there are chronic fatigue, exhaustion, coordination problems and, not infrequently, psychological complaints, which can go as far as depression. According to the Hertie Foundation, MS is characterized by “relapsing occurrence of neurological deficiency symptoms.” The symptoms show up over a period of at least 24 hours and usually only subside over the course of weeks. Permanent impairments can also remain. "Depending on the severity and duration of the relapse, the symptoms can go away completely or leave a disability," the Foundation says.
MS is not a classic hereditary disease The autoimmune disease appears in most people between the ages of 20 and 40, with women being affected twice as often as men. So far, the causes of multiple sclerosis have not been fully clarified. Here it is suspected that various components contribute to the outbreak of MS, reports the Hertie Foundation. "There is probably a certain disposition that, together with external factors such as viral infections, causes the disease." A connection to external influences such as the climate is also suspected, since "the likelihood of developing MS is less close to the equator than in the southern and above all northern latitudes. ”MS is not a classic hereditary disease, although a worldwide study from 2011 identified more than 50 gene variants that occur above average in people with MS.
Difficult diagnosis of multiple sclerosis According to the Hertie Foundation, the diagnosis of MS is often relatively difficult because the different symptoms often disappear on their own and can also occur with other diseases. In the interest of the patient, however, it is particularly important to make a diagnosis as early as possible, because "the sooner MS is diagnosed, the more favorable it can have an impact on the further course of the disease." neurological examination, an examination of the nerve water (cerebrospinal fluid) and a check using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
So far, MS has been incurable. If the diagnosis has been made, the Hertie Foundation says that there are three possible “therapeutic approaches: (acute) relapsing therapy, preventive basic therapy that interferes with the immune system, and the treatment of permanent accompanying symptoms.” Admittedly, no treatment can be healed based on these treatment methods be achieved, but the goal is "to enable patients to live a largely independent and pain-free life with the highest possible quality of life." Here medicine has made significant progress in recent years and today there are well-tolerated medications that alleviate the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. There is also a lot of hope in new active ingredients, of which at least two are to be approved in Germany in 2013. However, according to the Hertie Foundation, a means of finally fighting MS is “still not in sight.” (Fp)
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