Corboy, John Department of Neurology, University of Colorado Medical School, Aurora, Colorado.
Rollins, Karen Department of Neurology, University of Colorado Medical School, Aurora, Colorado.
Last reviewed:April 2019
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- Common symptoms
- Geographical distribution
- Disease subtypes
- Differential diagnosis
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A chronic, degenerative, inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that affects neuromuscular function and characteristically involves the destruction of myelin, the insulating material around nerve fibers. The best early description of multiple sclerosis (MS) was that of Jean-Martin Charcot in 1868, who called the disease sclerose en plaques. He noted three cardinal symptoms of MS, known as Charcot's triad—ataxia (coordination problems), dysarthria (slurred speech), and tremor—and associated these symptoms with gray discolorations distributed throughout the brain (Fig. 1) and spinal cord. Today, MS is recognized as causing a variety of potentially disabling neurological symptoms, including diminished strength, coordination, or sensation; visual changes; mood and cognitive problems; and loss of bowel or bladder control. See also: Central nervous system; Nerve; Nervous system disorders; Nervous system (vertebrate); Neuroimmunology
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