Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis


Two-and-a-half million people world-wide and 400,000 Americans suffer from the chronic disease multiple sclerosis. Understanding Multiple Sclerosis presents both general information about MS and valuable, specific advice.

Who gets MS? What are its symptoms? What are its effects on the bodies and minds of people afflicted? How does one plan for the future after a diagnosis? From basic biology to new advances in treatment, Understanding Multiple Sclerosis covers the topics most relevant to people with MS and to their families and friends.

Chapters provide:

  • Introduction to genetic, demographic, and geographic factors
  • Basic biology of MS, with descriptions of both the central nervous system and the immune system
  • Characteristic symptoms of MS
  • Diagnostic criteria and different types of MS
  • Treatments, over-the-counter medica-tions, and alternative medicines
  • Lifestyle adjustments and coping strate-gies along with advice on long-term health insurance and financial planning
  • Current and ongoing MS research and advances

Melissa Stauffer of Daphne, Alabama, is a freelance science editor whose work has appeared in Biochemistry, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Biomolecular NMR, and FEBS Letters.


Multiple sclerosis affects 2.5 million people worldwide and four hundred thousand Americans. It is the most common neurodegenerative disease in young adults, with a particularly high occurrence in women. In spite of erratic and variable symptoms, investigators have made great strides in diagnosing and treating MS during the last decade. This book, written for people who need to understand MS—those who have been recently diagnosed, their families and friends, or interested health care professionals—is intended to provide background on the history and biology of MS and to chronicle recent developments that allow people with MS today to live fuller and longer lives.

The book opens with a general introduction to the genetic, demographic, and geographic factors that correlate with MS incidence. The second chapter is devoted to the basic biology of MS, with descriptions of the central nervous system and the immune system and an explanation of their interaction during autoimmunity. The characteristic symptoms of MS are outlined in a discussion of the latest diagnostic criteria and the different types of MS. This is followed by a description of MS treatments, over-the-counter medications for specific symptoms, and alternative treatments with herbs and vitamins. Living with MS, including coping strategies, relational concerns, and long-term plans, is addressed in chapter 5. The book concludes with an overview of the current MS research that will impact the next generation of MS drugs.

Thanks to an ensemble of disease-modifying therapies, people with MS can live highly active lives. Inspirational examples include talk-show host Montel Williams, country . . .

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