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What is Multiple Sclerosis?

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

MS stands for Multiple Sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis is currently considered by the medical community to be an autoimmune disorder, where the body becomes confused in some way to where it attacks itself, as if it is a foreign invader that the body needs to defend itself against.

Due to the more recent release of the conclusions of the 2 year study by Dr. Paolo Zamboni, that was conducted at the University of Ferrara in Ferrara, Italy, there is a newer theory arising that many of the cases of Multiple Sclerosis many have something to do with the chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency or CCSVI.

Chronic cerbrospinal venous insufficiency or CCSVI is where restricted blood flow to the veins that drain the blood away from the brain.

The veins, where these restrictions were found in the Dr. Zamboni MS study, included the jugular veins, along the sides of the neck, or in the azygous process -- the veins leading blood flow away from the jugular veins in the upper chest.

Several studies are popping up to gather more data to determine if CCSVI is more often associated with Multiple Sclerosis or not.

Much more data needs to be gathered before it can be determined if CCSVi applies predominantly or even stricted to Multiple Sclerosis or not.

The theory about the restricted blood flow or CCSVI condition being present in the majority of the cases of Multiple Sclerosis is such a new idea, that it still needs to be tested on a wider scale before any conclusions can be drawn from this idea.

As further studies are springing up in different countries around the world and as more vascular doctors, cardiologists and neurologists are working more with their MS patients to have them evaluated for CCSVI, more information is being gathered to determine if CCSVI is present in many cases of Multiple Sclerosis and in what can be done about it to correct this problem.

As a result of the initial study, Dr. Zamboni also developed a procedure dubbed "The Liberation treatment" where a catheter is inserted in the vein that has a restriction present that results in reduced blood flow and a small balloon is inflated in the vein to open up the blood flow to the vein.

In the original study, 90% of the MS patients were found to have the CCSVI condition.  After the MS patients under went the procedure to open up the blood flow to the restricted vessels, 75% of the MS patients that under went the procedure show remarkable improvement in a reduction of their MS symptoms and with recovering more of their ability to function.

As more MS patients are being evaluated to see if the CCSVI condition is present, it also will need to be determined what to take for the next step, since "The Liberation treatment" is also a fairly new development as to a way to correct this problem with venous insufficiency or reduced blood flow.

Although this more recent development in MS research, announced in press release in September of 2009, has raised questions as to how to classify and treat Multiple Sclerosis, "The Liberation Treatment" has been not called a cure to Multiple Sclerosis, since the cause of Multiple Sclerosis is still under investigation at this time.

The overall medical community, still thinks of the breakthrough ideas of the Dr. Zamboni study results and conclusions to be speculative at this time, but if you think that you would like to be evaluated for the blockages to the veins draining the blood away from the brain, there are doctors in the USA and throughout other countries that are at least willing to help you get evaluated for the blockages.

In the USA, the studies that were done with MS patients did not show a high percentage of the type of blockages that were found in the Dr. Zamboni study and this has left the majority of doctors in the medical community more sceptical of Dr. Zamboni's findings.

The majority of doctors in the overall medical community around the world consider Dr. Zamboni's findings too speculative to be accepted as main stream at this point in time.

But there were MS patients, which were evaluated and found to have the blockages that Dr. Zamboni described.

There are doctors, located in the USA and in other countries around the world, who are at least willing to have their MS patients evaluated for the blockages, if their symptoms suggest that this might be a consideration.

There are also doctors, who are willing to perform a surgery similar to the CCSVI surgery, which was developed by Dr. Zamboni for clearing the blockages to the veins, which were found to be blocked, both in the USA and in other countries around the world.

Stints or some type of insert are also typically inserted in the vein to keep it from restricting again, while the CCSVI procedure is being performed to open up the blocked veins.

But there are doctors in the USA, and other countries around the world, who are willing to at least consider evaluating people for the blockages, as well as maybe even perform the surgery to open up the blocked blood blow.

Although the majority of the medical communities around the world, and especially in the USA, still look at the Dr. Zamboni findings as speculative at this point.

As far as the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, which are more commonly associated with MS

Multiple Sclerosis symptoms can vary from one case of Multiple Sclerosis to the next.  The type, frequency and severity of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis depends on which part of the nervous system has been attacked by MS and on the degree of resulting damage to the nerves.

Although the frequency and severity of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms can vary from case to case, there is still a core group of symptoms that are more often associated with Multiple Sclerosis, that helps doctors to suspect more strongly that Multiple Sclerosis may be present sooner, before the Multiple Sclerosis  disease process progresses to the point of becoming more severe.

Symptoms often associated with Multiple Sclerosis can include:

* vision problems or eye pain -- this can be blurriness of vision, problems focusing, seeing double, partial loss of vision in one or both eyes.

*  Numbness, tingling, pins and needles, lack of sensation (can't feel heat or cold or can't touch things and feel them against your skin) -- numbness can be present almost anywhere in the body but often this occurs in the extremities (hands, arms, legs, feet or face)

* Nerve Pain -- this can occur anywhere throughout the body and the pain can be constantly there or it can come and go.

Nerve pain is an intense pain that can be unbearable at times.  This pain can be much more difficult to calm down, if it isn't confined to a specific point on the body or specific part of the body, since nerve pain can travel kind of randomly around the body or it can be a more general pain that is present over a larger area of the body at one time.

* Placement and control problems -- this refers to where you are unable to control where you place your feet or how you move your legs, hands, feet and arms.  It is like you lose control over movement of different body parts.

* loss of balance - this can happen when you try to stand or walk.

* loss of the ability to stand or walk -- this can be continuously a problem or it come and go periodically as to whether you can stand up and/or walk much from day to day. This can also be where you lose part of your ability to stand and walk for longer distances, but you can still stand and/or walk some.

This may be a milder problem (you need assistance walking or standing using a cane or walker), but it doesn't get any worse than this or you can progressively lose more of the ability to stand and/or walk to where you need a wheelchair to get around.

In more extreme cases, you can lose the ability to stand and walk totally as the disease progression accelerates or progresses to a more severe or advanced form of the disease and resulting nerve damage and loss of the ability to function independently on your own.

* bladder control problems (or incontinence) -- this can be partial loss of control where you periodically wet yourself from lack of control or you have closer to total lack of control

Bladder control issues can also include where the bladder retains instead of draining as it should and you may end up having to catheterize just to drain the bladder several times a day.

Catheterizing can set you up to get infections much more often, since this is introducing a foreign object into the urethra that can actually push extra bacteria from outside the bladder to inside the bladder.

* Night time Incontinence -- this can be a loss of control of drainage of the bladder when you lie down to go to sleep at night.

Multiple Sclerosis is also a term that covers a broad range of symptoms that can vary from one case of MS to the next.  Since there appears not to be any 2 cases of Multiple Sclerosis that are exactly alike, in the severity, frequency or combination of the symptoms of MS, this has resulted in there being several theories as to the suspected cause or causes of Multiple Sclerosis.

What is Multiple Sclerosis is a question that is still not totally settled, in the minds of the world wide medical community, since the disease process of Multiple Sclerosis is not well understood, at this point.

Most current MS research, that is being done to work towards a cure for Multiple Sclerosis,
includes going many different directions at the same time, in the hopes that a cure will be found, while in the process more will hopefully be understood about how and what is affecting the body that can result in the scarring and possible nerve damage that is so often associated with Multiple Sclerosis.

Possible Multiple Sclerosis causes that are being considered include:

virus theory -- the idea here is that something like the Epstein Bar virus (that is linked to mononucleosis) or the German measles or perhaps the chicken pox virus can be a way that the conditions are set up for Multiple Sclerosis to attack the body.

* genetic link -- this appears possible, according to Professor George Jelinek, M.D. of the University of Western Australia.

Professor George Jelinek has written a few books where he talks about different aspects of Multiple Sclerosis.  In his book, "Taking Control of Multiple Sclerosis", Professor Jelinek discusses that there appears to be a genetic link with Multiple Sclerosis.

Basically, according to Professor George Jelinek, M.D., who is an emergency  physician and Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Western Australia, he states that if a family member that is one generation away from you was previously diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, that you have a 300% higher chance of also being diagnosed.

What Professor George Jelinek, MD is referring to is if your father, mother, brother or sister were previously diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, this greatly increases the possibility that you will also be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

But in his book, Professor Jelinek, MD also comes to the conclusion, through his own battle with Multiple Sclerosis after his mother was severely disabled by the effects of Multiple Sclerosis, that there are natural and alternative ways that can help to not only reduce the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, but that can also help to restore much or even most of what Multiple Sclerosis has removed from your life previously.

With the release of the findings of the more recent Dr. Zamboni study, the possibility that CCSVI may contribute to many cases of Multiple Sclerosis may exist, but is not certain as to whether the MS causes the CCSVI or the CCSVI may be another possible cause of Multiple Sclerosis.  Until further studies are performed over a period of time, further conclusions into this matter are still pending.

* Environmental factor to causing MS

Another idea, which is also being considered as one of the possible Multiple Sclerosis causes is that the scarring is a result of the effects of Environmental toxins attacking the body (like a nerve agent or something similar, which can cause direct nerve damage to the body).

At this point, there is no conclusive proof that gives the medical community enough evidence as to which way to focus the MS research for finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis or to help focus the efforts for finding what can resolve the wide spread physical problems, resulting from the increase in the Multiple Sclerosis incidence rate of the number of people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis around the world.

As MS research continues to advance in finding out more about the disease process, the possible causes of Multiple Sclerosis and the possible treatment methods to help to alleviate the suffering of MS patients from the effects of Multiple Sclerosis on the body, the hope is that a cure or at least a way of reversing the often devastating effects of MS will be found.

Additional ways, including what is called complimentary medicine, is also being pursued by more doctors, for helping more MS patients to find relief to their symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Complimentary medicine includes using alternative and natural ways to help work with the body to help speed healing and recovery by helping to restore more of the balance of the body's natural methods of healing itself.

These natural and/or alternative ways can include finding ways to reduce the effects of stress, reduce the over stimulation of the nervous system, relax and restore the ability to sleep better at night, using different forms of MS exercise to help to stimulate the regeneration of damaged nerves and weakened muscles to help improve how well MS patients can function each day.

As far as things that can contribute to aggravating or maybe even causing the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis to become worse, can include:

* Allergic responses

Allergic reactions can be caused by allergic reactions to many different allergens, including dust,  dust mites, molds, different types of food, chemical allergic reactions, and other reactions to any substance that can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through through the skin.

Depending on what is the allergen or the method that we are being exposed to the allergen, this can change the way that the allergic reaction is treated.

Testing can be done and a neutralization serum can be specifically made to reduce the reaction to the allergic reactions that are found during the testing.  Taking this serum at instructed by the doctor can help tremendously in reducing the allergic responses that are found to be present that can actually aggravate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis that are being experienced.

Because there are such a wide variety of theories as to what is Multiple Sclerosis and what can may be the cause or causes of Multiple Sclerosis, this has resulted in many approaches being used by the traditional and complementary medical doctors in an attempt to bring some relief to the symptoms of their Multiple Sclerosis patients.

The traditional medical doctors are broadening there scope of treatment options for Multiple Sclerosis to include what is called Complimentary Medicine, which includes using a broad range of options in finding a way to bring relief to the Multiple Sclerosis symptoms, that can include pharmaceutical drugs in combination with using more alternative and natural methods to help bring more relief to the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis for many more MS patients, than just using the traditional treatments.

Since around 80% of our brains and 60% of the rest our bodies are made up of nerves, the nerve damage that typically results from Multiple Sclerosis can affect how well the majority of our bodies can function.  The problems with the scrambling of nerve signals, that typically accompanies the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, can also cause most of the nervous system to appear to be short circuiting. 

The Multiple Sclerosis brain can also be affected that can result in scarring in the brain or MS brain lesions within the brain, which can be seen on the films of MRI test or magnetic imaging resonance test results.

MS scarring in the brain or lesions can result in the following brain function problems:

* cognitive problems

* memory problems

* brain fog

* scrambling of words, phrases, numbers
   and concepts

* difficulty speaking

* hearing loss (partial or total)

* vision problems

* problems connecting with your
   surroundings

* difficulty figuring things out or with
   thinking logically

* mild to severe loss of the ability to function
   on your own

Although there is such a broad range of the degree of disability in Multiple Sclerosis, since MS can be mild to severe and Multiple Sclerosis is still not very well understood, we still have a ways to go for understanding the disease process of Multiple Sclerosis, understanding the causes of MS and finding ways to treat or even cure Multiple Sclerosis.

No matter what, don't lose heart because more and more is being understood and discovered about Multiple Sclerosis as the MS research progresses.

Who knows how close we are at this point to finding that piece to the puzzle for Multiple Sclerosis that brings a breakthrough in MS, which helps to bring about a cure for Multiple Sclerosis in the near future.

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