What is a MS?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the nerve fibres of the Central Nervous System (including the brain and the spinal cord), which are responsible for transmitting communication signals both within the central nervous system itself, and between it and the nerves supplying the rest of the body.
In people affected by MS, patches of damage called lesions appear in the white matter in the central nervous system, in apparently random areas. These lesions are essentially caused by a loss of myelin (a protective sheath) over the nerves. One analogy for myelin sheath is a string of sausages. The nerve impulse 'action potential' leaps from one link to the next. If the myelin is destroyed then the nerve impulse cannot leap the gap and although the intention to move is generated - it does not result in the action being initiated.
Because of the apparent randomness of the areas affected, MS is very hard to characterise since the unpredictable symptoms can vary greatly both in type and in severity depending on which areas are affected and how badly they are damaged - areas very close together can give rise to very different symptoms. Many problems can appear, including all of the following, either fully or partially: tingling, pins and needles, numbness, muscle weakness or spasms, cramps, pain, blurred or double vision or even blindness, urinary urgency or hesitancy, incontinence or constipation, slurred speech, loss of sexual function, loss of balance, nausea, fatigue, depression, short term memory problems, inability to swallow, or inability to control breathing.
Multiple sclerosis generally appears in the young and middle aged (it does not usually occur after age 40), and affects women more than men. An initial attack is usually followed by a period of remission, often of about 2 years. This can be permanent, but if a relapse occurs it tends to return with more symptoms.
Reference : Human Disease - Crowley (Amazon link)
In this section we've added a few alternative study aids to help you along.
- Articles - Here you'll find a range of short articles on basic anatomy and physiology topics, complete with a few 'test yourself' questions for each one.
- Images and pdf's - Just in case you get tired of looking at the screen we've provided images and pdf files that you can print out and use for 'off-line' practice.
- Word Roots - When you learn the word roots, prefixes and suffixes contained within anatomical and medical terms, you can often work out what they mean. This can be a useful skill as you progress in your studies, so we've provided a dictionary to help you!
- Games - Finally in the resources section, we've added some simple games to make anatomy and physiology practice a little bit more fun.