Multiple Sclerosis Key Terms

Below is a list of “Key Terms” I commonly use throughout my Blog. They are not official definitions but merely rough definitions meant to help you get the idea of what I am talking about. I will update this list periodically.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – A chronic progressive disorder involving loss of myelin sheathing around nerves in the central nervous system. (It is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system.)

Relapse – A worsening of symptoms following a period of remission.

Remission – A period of time where all or most symptoms subside.

Exacerbation – Also referred to as a relapse or flare up. This is simply an “MS attack” or flare up of symptoms.

Myelin – A fatty substance that acts as an insulation for our nerves to allow proper flow of electrical signals much like the wire of an electronic device in that electricity flows across a copper wire wrapped in a rubber insulation.

Lesion – When talking about MS, a lesion is typically a white spot on an MRI indicating damage to myelin.

Nerves – Nerves are basically the wiring system of our bodies that allow us to send electrical signals to and from the brain which in turn allows us to move about and feel.

Central Nervous System (CNS) – This system consists of the brain and spinal cord, where many bodily functions are controlled, many sensations are processed and signals are sent to different parts of the body.

Steroids – The two most common steroids in the world of MS are Prednisone and SoluMedrol. Their main goal is to reduce inflammation which helps relieve symptoms.

Inflammation – Inflammation can be looked at as “swelling” of the body which can cause damage to myelin.

MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging: This will produce multiple images of your body like an X-Ray only and MRI consist of many layers of images stacked on top of each other which allows you to see the image in a more 3-Dimensional manor.

Spinal Tap – A Procedure in which a needle is inserted into the lower spine to extract spinal fluid.

Disease Modifying Medication – Medications used to alter the course of a disease but not cure it.

Subcutaneous – A subcutaneous injection is one that injects just below the skin.

Fine Motor Control – Coordination of small muscle movements such as control of one’s fingers.

Oligodendrocyte: Cells that produce Myelin

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