Overview & Causes
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.
Maybe you’ve felt exhausted or weak lately. Or your foot is starting to tingle. So you do a quick Internet search and come up with an alarming result: Your symptom is one of the signs of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the brain and spinal cord. Before you start to worry, know that many signs of the condition are the same as symptoms of other health problems.
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.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are different diseases with some similar features and symptoms.