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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Overview & Causes

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Multiple sclerosis is a mysterious, often frustrating disease. Learn what scientists know about MS -- what seems to trigger it, and its effect on the nervous system.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

What makes the body’s immune system cause damage to healthy nerves? Learn more about MS and its effect on the brain and spinal cord.

Causes

Genetics, the environment, even viruses may play a role in who gets MS. 

Are You at Risk?

Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) happens when your immune system attacks your nervous system. Until a few years ago, doctors told people who had one flare that they had “possible MS.” While CIS can develop into multiple sclerosis, that doesn't always happen. 

The most comprehensive genetic study to date of multiple sclerosis has pinpointed a cluster of genes on chromosome 6 as playing the major role in causing the disorder.

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