What Exactly Is Multiple Sclerosis?

This month, many countries the world over will be helping spread awareness of Multiple Sclerosis—but what exactly is the disease? This video, by ASAP Science, helps explain.

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Sadly, MS—an inflammatory disease where the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged—is currently untreatable. We don't even know its true cause. But that could change with enough research, and that's why knowing about the condition is so important. [ASAP Science]

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DISCUSSION

MS is a crappy disease, let me tell you.

I work as a research coordinator for one of the largest MS centers in the country, and now there are tons of drugs approved for the treatment of certain kinds of MS (relapsing forms) generally. In 2 years the total number of approved treatments will likely be over a dozen. This is in a disease that 30 years ago, you'd be told, go home and rest.

The thing is that even with all these advancements, we still know almost nothing about the drugs themselves or why they even work. We have ideas, but their mechanisms of actions, even or drugs that have been in the market for 15+ years is still poorly understood. Still things are much better now than they were, and we're working on tons of new ideas.

What I will say, and this relates to the Alzheimer article poster earlier on gizmodo, is that I wish news outlets woud just STOP reporting data from pilot or phase I studies. Those studies do no offer hope. They are preliminary studies that are not even close to designed to show efficacy. Those are done for safety. If there is any hope in them is that a new possible treatment didn't kill anyone.