World MS Day: mistakes about multiple sclerosis

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A multiple life is possible with multiple sclerosis

Around 130,000 people in Germany suffer from multiple sclerosis. Most of those affected have a job and lead a completely normal life. Nevertheless, they face numerous prejudices. World MS Day is intended to draw attention to the disease and to dispel prejudices.

Many unfounded prejudices about multiple sclerosis On the occasion of this year's World MS Day, which took place last Wednesday, events and campaigns around the topic of multiple sclerosis (MS) are taking place worldwide. Among other things, those affected, doctors and other professionals want to dispel prejudices with which many people with MS are often confronted. “If we all want to achieve one day that people with a chronic illness can lead a largely normal life without exclusion, without disadvantage, then we have to make sure that prejudices are eliminated as a first step. We want to contribute to this with our work, ”explained Dr. Eva Koch, head of MS projects at the Hertie Foundation, in a press release from the foundation. The most common prejudices include sentences such as "MS, that's muscle wasting", "You die of it" or "Those affected always sit in a wheelchair". "Many people say MS, but it's mostly the wrong thing," Koch told the dpa themed service. "Correct: MS is a serious chronic illness, but with which a largely normal life and work is possible."

According to the expert, only about 15 percent of those affected are dependent on a wheelchair. “The disease doesn't have to be obvious. That is why they are called the disease of the 1000 faces, "says Koch. Each course of the disease is individually different." That is the tricky thing. "

Multiple sclerosis in the beginning with unspecific symptoms MS is a chronic chronic neurological disorder in which inflammation of the central nervous system develops at different locations in the brain and spinal cord. The protective layer of the nerve fibers, the so-called myelin, is damaged or even destroyed by the inflammatory processes. So far, the cause of MS has not been clarified despite intensive research.

The disease manifests itself in the form of various symptoms, some of which are very concealed and can only occur temporarily. The MS diagnosis is therefore made very late in many cases. For diagnosis, neurological examinations, magnetic resonance imaging and analysis of the nerve water are carried out, for example. Most of those affected are between 20 and 40 years old and two thirds are female. Having children is not a problem for the sick women, but an inherited component is also discussed as a cause in MS. Other than muscle wasting, MS is not a classic hereditary disease.

Abnormal sensations, tingling hands and feet, visual disturbances, numbness in the legs, paralysis, balance and strength disorders can be the first signs of MS. However, since these symptoms can also be based on another cause, they are by themselves not a clear indication of MS. Some sufferers also have difficulty concentrating and have cognitive impairments. As the disease progresses, many of those affected will eventually no longer have motor skills or fine motor skills or will only function to a limited extent. The incorrect switching of the nerves can also cause other impairments and disabilities. In some cases, functional disorders of the urinary bladder and intestine occur.

Multiple sclerosis occurs in episodes of MS MS mostly occurs in episodes of disease that can take very different forms. The severity and frequency can also vary greatly. Some MS patients would take medication permanently, others only if the discomfort occurred, Koch said. "The spectrum of the disease is very wide, the unpredictability too." While some suffered from numbness in the arms, others felt tingling in the legs. Many patients also have to deal with chronic fatigue as an accompanying symptom, making it difficult for them to concentrate for a long time. As a result, some MS patients could not work eight hours.

As reported by Koch, in addition to the concern about the course of the disease, the fear of stigmatization is very stressful for those affected. An MS diagnosis does not necessarily mean that the lives of those affected get out of joint and that they are no longer resilient.

Gene possibly responsible for multiple sclerosis A special gene variant could have a significant share in the disease in patients with MS. An international team of scientists led by Adam P. Gregory and Calliope A. Dendrou from the University of Oxford (UK) succeeded in identifying a gene variant that blocked the so-called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha ) triggers, so that the typical inflammation symptoms of MS occur.

The researchers discovered the gene variant in a genome-wide association study in which the DNA of 379 Europeans was first analyzed. In doing so, they discovered the first signs of a possible connection between the gene variant and MS, since it was detected particularly frequently in MS patients. The genetic makeup of 1,853 MS patients and 5,174 healthy volunteers from a control group was then examined. The initially only statistically observed relationship was confirmed. The researchers published their results in the journal "Nature". (ag)

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