Dr. Hendin describes multiple sclerosis (MS) and explains why symptoms are unique for each patient.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is considered an autoimmune disease, and autoimmune really means that in some way the immune system that is supposed to prevent infections, fight off viruses and bacteria, somehow misinterprets the central nervous system – our brain and our spinal cord, as being alien or foreign, requiring an attack.
An attack is against one of the components of the nervous system, the myelin that coats nerves, the insulating material around nerves. It is relatively common in young adults. That means 400,000 people in America have MS, more women than men. 400,000 means about one in a thousand people, but women – two or three times more often than men.
MS symptoms manifest themselves differently for each individual based on where in the nervous system the attack occurs. So if the attack occurs in the optic nerve the presentation is with loss of vision, called optic neuritis. If the attack occurs in the brain stem, the back of the brain, it may be with double vision or incoordination. If the attack is in the spinal cord it may be with numbness or weakness below a certain point in the chest. These are common presentations, but because the central nervous system is a wide territory every individual has the possibility of their own unique attack.
About Dr. Barry Hendin, M.D.:
Dr. Hendin is a graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine. He completed his neurology residency at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology where he has served as an examiner for the Board for more than 30 years. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology where he had been honored as a fellow.