Disease progression in multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complicated neurodegenerative disease. Although each person with MS experiences different symptoms and course of the disease, the underlying biology and the ways the disease can be measured are the same for everyone.
In MS, the immune system attacks nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.3 This disease activity can cause symptoms and disability.
There are two main types of disease activity:
Such as a relapse
Detected with MRI brain scans
Types of disability
Physical disability gets worse (progression) when disease activity causes more and more nerve cells to die (neurodegeneration).5
People may experience disability in different ways, depending on what part of the brain, spinal cord or optic nerves is affected.6
Disease activity and disability progression can occur at the earliest stage of the disease.10 So one of the goals of MS treatment is to control disease activity as early as possible.
- 1. Giovannoni, G, et al. Brain Health: Time Matters in Multiple Sclerosis. 2015; pp 14.
- 2. MS International Federation. What is MS? Available at https://www.msif.org/about-ms/what-is-ms/
- 3. Medline Plus. Multiple Sclerosis. Available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000737.htm
- 4. National MS Society. Managing Relapses. Available at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Treating-MS/Managing-Relapses. Accessed September 2016.
- 5. De Stefano N., et al. Evidence of Axonal Damage in the Early Stages of Multiple Sclerosis and Its Relevance to Disability. Arch Neurol. 2001;58(1):65-70. Available at http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/778355
- 6. National MS Society. MS Symptoms. Available at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms
- 7. National MS Society. Functional Systems Score (FSS) and Expanded Disability Status Scale. Available at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/For-Professionals/ Researchers/Resources-for-Researchers/Clinical-Study-Measures/Functional-Systems-Scores-(FSS)-and-Expanded-Disab. Accessed September 2016.
- 8. National MS Society. 9-Hole Peg Test (9-HPT). Available at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/For-Professionals/Researchers/Resources-forResearchers/Clinical-Study-Measures/9-Hole-Peg-Test-(9-HPT). Accessed September 2016.
- 9. National MS Society. Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25-FW). Available at htp://www.nationalmssociety.org/For-Professionals/Researchers/Resources-for-Researchers/Clinical-Study-Measures/Timed-25-Foot-Walk-(T25-FW). Accessed September 2016.
- 10. MS Brain Health. Time Matters in Multiple Sclerosis. Available at http://msbrainhealth.org/perch/resources/time-matters-in-ms-report-may16.pdf
- 11. MS Coalition. The Use of Disease-Modifying Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis: Principles and Current Evidence. Available at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/getmedia/5ca284d3-fc7c-4ba5-b005-ab537d495c3c/DMT_Consensus_MS_Coalition_color