Q&A: What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system. It is a white matter disease, in which myelin sheaths surrounding the axons of neurons are destroyed. Myelin sheath is important in isolating axon from the environment. It works like the plastic wrapped around your electrical cords. Without these myelin sheaths, the electrical impulse will not be as conductive as before. In MS patients, the myelin destruction is found in the cerebellum, the brain stem, the spinal cord, and optical nerves. Symptoms of MS depend on the part of the brain or spinal cord the disease attacks, even though there are no symptoms that are unique to MS. Generally, MS patients feel fatigue, having difficulty walking, stiffness and muscular spasms. They may also have bladder problem, memory problem and pain or unpleasant sensations.