There are around 2.3 million people in the world living with multiple sclerosis (MS) today. It’s a difficult disease to live with because of its unpredictable nature. Depending on the type of MS a person has, symptoms can come and go with little or no warning. Recently, researchers revealed that they have identified a new sub-type of MS. Discovering new information about the disease helps scientists and doctors to better understand MS and, hopefully, will lead to better treatments and a cure one day.
About the New MS Sub-Type
In the past, scientists believed that MS always affected the white matter of the brain. When a person has MS, the myelin that protects their nerves is damaged. Without the protection of myelin, the nerves themselves become damaged. Myelin is what gives white matter its color.
The new kind of MS was discovered by examining the brain tissue of MS patients who donated their brains after dying. The scientists noticed that people who had the sub-type, named myelocortical MS (MCMS), had damage to their neurons, but their white matter was unaffected.
MCMS looks the same as other kinds of MS when viewing MRI brain scans in live patients. Researchers said the similarity is caused by swelling in the neurons that appears as a regular MS lesion.
The importance of this discovery is that it shows that neurons can be damaged without damage to myelin. It shows that MRI technology needs to be upgraded to be more sensitive so that it is able to detect these differences. It also suggests that new types of therapies are needed to manage this type of MS.
Other Kinds of MS
In addition to MCMS, doctors have identified four other kinds of MS. They are:
- Relapsing-Remitting MS: 85 percent of initial diagnoses of MS are this kind. It causes intermittent periods when symptoms are present.
- Secondary-Progressive MS: Eventually, the majority of people who receive a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS change to this form of MS. Their symptoms get worse as time goes on. They may or may not have relapses and remissions.
- Primary-Progressive MS: Only about 10 percent of people with MS have this kind. MS symptoms get steadily worse and the person does not have relapses or remissions.
- Progressive-Relapsing MS: This is the rarest form of MS with only 5 percent of MS patients having it. The disease worsens steadily and has relapses, but there are no remissions.
Regardless of the type of MS your family member has, senior care providers can help them to continue living safely and comfortably at home. Senior care providers can assist with regular daily care, such as dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. A senior care provider can also improve quality of life by helping the person to continue living an active life with visits to friends and other activities. Finally, senior care providers can do many of the household tasks the MS patient may not be able to do, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, and more.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Whiting, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.