The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is marking this year’s multiple sclerosis Awareness Week with a national campaign, “Every Connection Counts.” The campaign seeks to raise awareness of MS and draw attention to the impact of MS; this disease “divides minds from bodies, pulls people from their lives and away from one another,” according to the National MS Society.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, debilitating condition that is triggered by the body’s immune system attacking the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spine and optic nerves. This aberrant immune response targets myelin, a protective sheath that covers nerve fibers like rubber around an electrical copper wire. Without the protective myelin cover, nerves don’t transmit signals properly and are more susceptible to damage from future immune attacks.
The symptoms of MS can be erratic and each patient’s symptoms can vary widely, from blurred vision to loss of muscle control and paralysis. Medical diagnosis of MS is complicated by the variability in which parts of the body are affected and how often the symptoms are present. In some patients, symptoms flare up and then get better, while in others the symptoms progress and get worse over time with no significant periods of improvement.
Visit the National MS Society’s webpage to access tools and resources for MS Awareness Week. You can also read Research!America’s recently published fact sheet about MS, published with the MS Society, here. Want to get involved in advocacy for the MS Society? Check out their upcoming events that are held through the US and watch their YouTube video on MS advocacy.