Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This disrupts the flow of nerve signals throughout the body. Nerve fibres have a protective sheath called myelin which insulates the nerves, aiding the fast transmission of electrical signals along the nerve fibres.
In multiple sclerosis, an unknown trigger causes the immune cells to start attacking and breaking down the myelin sheath. Over time, repeated damage causes hard scar tissue, known as plaques, to form on the nerve.
As a result, the nerve impulses are disrupted because the electrical signals can’t travel as fast, and may leak out between the damaged myelin.
Vision, speech, movement and sensation can all become affected, as these functions require effective communication between nerves.
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