What is the pathological basis for MS?
Multiple Sclerosis is a an inflammatory disease in which the myelin sheath surrounding axons is damaged. Myelin gives high fidelity signalling down the axon, and lesions will degrade its insulating properties and lead to impaired nerve conduction.
Lesions most commonly affect the white matter (the myelin coat) of the optic nerve, brain stem, basal ganglia and spinal cord.
Recurring episodes of MS can cause many scars to appear as a result of myelin breakdown. These episodes may occur at varying time intervals affecting different areas of the CNS.
There is no one symptom that indicates the presence of MS; no single test can establish an accurate diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of MS?
- Ataxia - lack of muscle coordination that impedes speech or movement
- Weakness, spasms
- Fatigue, cognitive impairment, depression, unstable mood
Visual - Nystagmus, optic neuritis, diplopia
Throat - Dysphagia
Speech - Dysarthria
Bowel - incontinence, diarrhea or constipation
Urinary - incontinence, frequency or retention
Outline the mechanism of beta interferons in the treatment of MS