Multiple Sclerosis or MS affects the ability of nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. Nerve cells communicate by sending electrical signals down long fibers called axons, the axons are wrapped in an insulating substance called myelin. In MS, the person’s own immune system attacks and damages the myelin. When myelin is lost, the axons can no longer effectively conduct signals.
There are 4 different varieties of multiple sclerosis:
- Relapsing/Remitting (RRMS)
- Secondary Progressive (SPMS)
- Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS)
- Primary Progressive (PPMS)
Facts about Multiple Sclerosis(MS)
- Approx 2.5 million people worldwide, have Multiple Sclerosis.
- In the UK, approx 85,000 people have the disease.
- Women are almost twice as likely to develop MS as men.
- Multiple Sclerosis is the most common progressive and disabling neurological condition in young adults, in most cases, the symptoms are first seen between the ages of 20 and 40.
Common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary greatly from person to person and from time to time in one person, depending on which nerve fibres are damaged. Multiple sclerosis can affect several senses, the list below outlines some of the conditions associated with each category:
- Motor- Foot drop, Paraplegia, Hemiplegia, Tetraplegia, Quadriplegia
- Bladder, Bowel and Sexual- Frequent Micturation, Bladder Spasticity, Constipation, Incontinence
- Visual- Blurred vision, eye pain, blindness, double vision, loss of colour vision
- Sensory- Anaesthesia, Proprioceptive Dysfunction
- Coordination and Balance- Speech Ataxia, Intention tremor, Vertigo, Ataxia
- Cognitive-Depression, Bipolar syndrome, Dementia, Cognitive dysfunction, Anxiety
The symptoms often come and go, affecting one or several parts of the body. The fluctuating symptoms result from damage to myelin sheaths, followed by repair, followed by more damage.
Consequences of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
As a result of this neurological condition, people are frequently left with one or more of the following conditions:
- Dropped foot condition - What is Dropped Foot? read more here
- Claw hand condition - a condition where the affected hand is gripped in a closed position. The wrist and fingers stiff and difficult to move.
Finetech Medical produces a range of long-term implantable neuromuscular stimulators to restore function after neurological injuries, like MS. Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) can be used to produce contractions in paralysed muscles/nerves. Finetech Medical’s implants deliver small electrical pulses to the nerves that supply these paralysed muscles/nerves, causing them to contract. An external, wireless device is used to control the implant and its function.
Finetech Medical’s products applicable to these conditions are: