Health Watch -- The Nervous System: Multiple Sclerosis

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


We're talking about the nervous system this week on Health Watch. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissues. Nerve cells lose an insulating fatty covering that allows signals to be sent through the nervous system quickly and accurately. As a result, patients may experience problems with coordination and movement.

Dr. Elliot Frohman directs the Multiple Sclerosis Program and Clinical Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and he recently provided a report on MS to the New England Journal of Medicine. Much of the research about MS has focused on the plaques that form around nerve cells when they lose their insulation. Most of the plaques cause harm, but there are cells within the plaques that might be beneficial — if they could be triggered to grow. This is an area of major interest as researchers continue looking for treatments.

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April 2006

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