What Is Multiple Sclerosis?


Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the nervous systems of an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States. Interfering with the signals between the brain and the rest of the body, MS produces a wide array of symptoms including limb weakness or paralysis, loss of balance and motor coordination, blurring or loss of vision, and even problems with thought and memory.

One of the most difficult aspects of the disease for those who live with it is its unpredictability, often alternating between periods of relative freedom from symptoms and flare-ups (known as "exacerbations") during which symptoms become noticeably worse or new ones appear. MS also varies greatly in overall severity. While the majority of patients experience relatively mild and manageable problems, it is possible for the disease to progress and become profoundly disabling or even life-threatening.

We still do not know the root causes of the disease, nor do we have a cure. Multiple Sclerosis National Research Institute is dedicated to performing the basic research needed to understand and treat this disease, so that all MS patients may return to living healthy and disease-free lives.