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MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND DEMYELINATING DISORDERS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. In this disorder, your immune system attacks the myelin sheath or the cells that produce and maintain it. This causes inflammation and injury to the sheath and ultimately to the nerve fibers that it surrounds.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. In this disorder, your immune system attacks the myelin sheath or the cells that produce and maintain it.

This causes inflammation and injury to the sheath and ultimately to the nerve fibers that it surrounds. The process can result in multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis).

Other causes

Other types of demyelinating disease and their causes include:

  • Optic neuritis — inflammation of the optic nerve in one or both eyes
  • Neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s disease) — inflammation and demyelination of the central nervous system, especially of the optic nerve and spinal cord
  • Transverse myelitis — inflammation of the spinal cord
  • Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis — inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy and adrenomyeloneuropathy — rare, inherited metabolic disorders

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