Friday, May 13, 2022

How Does Ms Affect The Brain

Don't Miss

How Do You Diagnose Cognitive Problems

How does MS affect my brain?

Ask your doctor to check your cognition each year. You should also tell them if you notice any cognitive changes.

If the doctor sees a change or if youre struggling with work or school, youll need a detailed cognitive evaluation from a neuropsychologist. These are doctors who specialize in behavioral changes caused by disease or trauma. You might also see a speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist for testing.

Its important that these health care professionals have experience working with people with MS. This helps them choose the right tests and interpret them.

The evaluation includes a variety of tests. They check different parts of your cognitive function, like your processing speed, memory, problem-solving, and more. The whole process can take several hours.

Ms Organisations Support & Advocacy

MS Australia is the national peak body for people affected by MS and is dedicated to advocacy, communications, education, funding and coordinating MS research, as part of the worldwide effort to solve MS.

There are several organisations in Australia that can provide resources, services and support to people affected by MS.

The Australian MS state organisations offer a range of support services including counselling, assessment, employer liaison, work simplification strategies, support groups, respite accommodation and much more. Services vary across organisations and locations

Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis can cause many symptoms that can come and go. You might have some symptoms but not all.

Many symptoms can be managed with medication or rehabilitation.

Common signs of MS include:

  • Visions problems such as blurry or double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Muscle weakness in arms and legs
  • Numbness or tingling on your face, body, arms and legs
  • Feelings of stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms
  • Pain, sometimes ongoing
  • Emotional reactions, including irritability or uncontrollable laughing or crying
  • Depression
  • Slurred speech or loss of volume
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hearing loss

Secondary symptoms:

Some conditions arent from nerve fiber problems but are complications of other symptoms. These might include:

  • Urinary tract infections from bladder problems
  • Loss of muscle tone from inactivity

Don’t Miss: Fluoride Blood Brain Barrier

Wear The Right Footwear

Shoes are not just a fashion accessory. They could play an essential role in helping you walk safely. While its important to wear shoes that are fitted, stable, and comfortable, that doesnt mean you cant still be stylish. Opt for shoes that are light and have a low heel if youre having difficulty with balance or walking, such as flats or loafers. If youre still looking for that extra height, consider swapping high heels for wedges, which may be more stable and supportive. You may also want to avoid shoes that are not securely strapped to your feet, such as sandals or flip-flops. These types of shoes can slip off or cause you to drag your feet. If youre wearing socks in the house, try non-slip socks that have traction grips on the bottom to prevent slipping.

Why Is It Important To Monitor Ms Lesions


Dr. Hua says that lesions show up much more frequently on MRI than they do clinically . This is why doctors monitor MS with frequent MRI scans instead of waiting for patients to present with symptoms. We want to see the silent disease activity. We want to make sure that no new lesions are formed, because if we can stop lesion formation, we will significantly reduce disability, says Dr. Hua.

MRIs are typically done every year, she explains. If youve started a new medication, Dr. Hua says you might have one in six months’s time to make sure the medication is doing its job. Once youre older, inflammation tends to slow down. You wont need MRIs as often as long as your MS is stable.

Though MRI scans are an important tool doctors use to monitor MS, they dont provide the whole picture. We still rely on clinical tools, other tests, and other measures to really help us understand the best way to care for patients, Dr. Hua says.

You May Like: Does Prevagen Help With Memory Loss

Composition Of Cns And Pns Myelin

The loss of myelin during MS is of critical clinical and pathologic importance. Myelin produced by either oligodendrocytes or Schwann cells extends from the glial plasma membrane and spirally enwraps axonal segments. The myelinated axonal segments are also known as internodes, whereas the unmyelinated axonal segments are called the nodes of Ranvier . The node of Ranvier lies between the outermost paranodal loops of adjacent myelin sheaths. The innermost paranodal loop is adjacent to the juxtaparanode, which borders the internode proper. Myelin in the CNS and PNS is thought to have the same vital function, namely saltatory impulse propagation along the axon. As demyelination has been established in the PNS as is in the CNS, it is of interest to compare the anatomic structure and molecular constituents of CNS myelin to PNS myelin, which may give insight into possible overlapping or divergent factors attacked during the demyelination process.

Overview of the lipid and protein composition in CNS and PNS myelin

An example of a protein, which despite its low abundance is thought to play an important role in PNS myelin, is the myelin protein P2. In particular, P2 seems to be strongly involved in lipid homeostasis of myelinated Schwann cells. The protein is sufficient to induce clinical, electrophysiologic, and neuropathologic characteristics of experimental allergic neuritis.

The Central Nervous System

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Messages from the brain travel along the spinal cord and control the activities of the body such as the movement of the arms and legs and the function of the organs.

The peripheral nervous system carries messages between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.

The cranial nerves which carry messages to the face and eyes are part of the peripheral nervous system. These nerves can be affected by MS, causing face pain and visual problems.

Read Also: Frontal Cortex Damage Symptoms

How Is The Neuropathy Of Sjgrens Syndrome Treated

In general, a neurologist and/or rheumatologist must determine the pattern of neuropathy . Distinguishing between these patterns is of paramount importance, because of distinguishing mechanisms which may necessitate different therapeutic strategies. The pain of neuropathy can be especially severe and may require different analgesics and anti-seizure medications. However, symptomatic treatment of pain should not preclude the institution of medications to dampen the immune-system, when there is evidence of ongoing neuroinflammation.

Tests And Diagnosis For Impaired Thinking

What do I need to know about how multiple sclerosis affect the brain/ms affect the brain

If you think you have cognitive problems, talk with your neurologist or family doctor. Fuzzy thinking can have many causes.

Your doctor can make sure your problems don’t come from normal aging or drugs that may cause confusion, depression, anxiety, or fatigue.

Once you have any health problems fully treated, the next step is usually testing. Your doctor may refer you to a neuropsychologist, speech pathologist, or occupational therapist.

Recommended Reading: What Does Fluoride Do To Your Brain

Can Lesions Heal Once They Appear

Absolutely, says Dr. Hua. Its not specific to MS, but in any process where theres some sort of brain injury, there will always be healing, as well. There will also be the formation of scar tissue, a process called gliosis, she adds.

In some people, myelin in the lesions is actually repaired to some degree, known as remyelination. However, it wont be as robust as the original, Dr. Hua says, meaning you may gain back some nerve functionality over time, but perhaps not all.

Pathology reports on the brains of deceased people with MS have shown that some lesions appear to show remyelination, agrees Dr. Bhargava. It does seem that the body can at least partially heal some of these lesions, but this may vary from person to person, and then from lesion to lesion within the same brain, he says.

Research is in the works to find ways to help the nervous system repair damaged myelin. Scientists are looking into options such as stem cell therapy and certain medications such as clemastine , lipoic acid , ibudilast , and phenytoin that show promise.

Lesions In This Part Of The Brain Can Impact Balance And Thinking

The hallmark of multiple sclerosis is the brain lesions found on the cerebrum and the cerebellum. Your cerebellum is located in the lower back area of your brain, behind the top part of your brainstem, where your spinal cord connects with your brain. This area helps control coordination, posture, and balance, as well as speech and a number of important mental processes. Hence, when MS lesions affect this region of the brain, these abilities are often compromised.

Also Check: Does Prevagen Help With Memory Loss

Sensory Symptoms And Ms

Changes in sensations such as numbness, pins and needles and tingling are common MS symptoms, related to damage to nerve covering in certain areas. These sensations can occur anywhere on the body such as the arms, legs and face. They can be mild or could interfere with your ability to use the affected part of your body, such as difficulty in writing with a pen.

The new onset of sensory symptoms may be associated with a relapse and should be reported to your MS healthcare team.

Early Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis

Gene study confirms low Vitamin D, multiple sclerosis link ...

Vague symptoms of demyelination in the brain sometimes begin long before the disorder is diagnosed. The most common early symptoms are the following:

  • Tingling, numbness, pain, burning, and itching in the arms, legs, trunk, or face and sometimes a reduced sense of touch

  • Loss of strength or dexterity in a leg or hand, which may become stiff

  • Problems with vision

Vision may become dim or blurred. Mainly, people lose the ability to see when looking straight ahead . Peripheral vision is less affected. People with multiples sclerosis may also have the following vision problems:

Walking and balance may be affected. Dizziness and vertigo Dizziness and Vertigo Dizziness is an inexact term people often use to describe various related sensations, including Faintness Light-headedness Dysequilibrium (feeling off balance or… read more are common, as is fatigue.

Excess heatfor example, warm weather, a hot bath or shower, or a fevermay temporarily make symptoms worse.

When the back part of the spinal cord in the neck is affected, bending the neck forward may cause an electrical shock or a tingling sensation that shoots down the back, down both legs, down one arm, or down one side of the body . Usually, the sensation lasts only a moment and disappears when the neck is straightened. Often, it is felt as long as the neck remains bent forward.

Recommended Reading: Prevagen Improves Memory

Introduction To The Nervous System

The nervous system is divided into two anatomic compartments:

  • The Central Nervous System or CNS includes the brain and the spinal cord
  • The Peripheral Nervous System or PNS includes larger and smaller nerves, connecting muscles to the spinal cord.
  • Sjögrens syndrome can cause inflammation and damage to both the CNS and PNS.

    How Does Heat Or Humidity Impact People With Multiple Sclerosis

    Heat or high humidity can cause many people with MS to experience a temporary worsening of their symptoms. Doctors believe that this occurs because heat causes nerves to conduct electrical signals even less efficiently.

    For reasons that are not well understood, extremely cold temperatures and changes in temperature can also cause MS symptoms, usually spasticity , to flare.

    Read Also: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze

    Cognitive Symptoms And Decline In Ms

    MS lesions in both the brain and spinal cord can cause a wide range of physical symptoms, including trouble with moving muscles, numbness and tingling, and reduced bladder control. But lesions in the brain and especially brain gray matter atrophy in the brain can also cause cognitive symptoms.

    Cognitive symptoms in MS are often related to memory, says Cross but not forgetting skills or information in the way that someone with dementia would. Instead, many people with MS have trouble with multitasking, keeping two or three things going in their mind at the same time, she explains.

    People who have MS may also experience reduced visual or verbal memory. One of the tests I like to use is to take the word world and ask patients to put the letters in alphabetical order, without using a piece of paper, says Cross.

    Blogger at Girl with MS

    How Ms Affects The Brain

    How Does MS Affect My Cognitive Function?

    Multiple sclerosis causes communication between the brain and the rest of the body to be disturbed. An autoimmune disease, MS causes the body to attack the protective layer around the neurons in the central nervous system, which is called myelin. This can cause damage to the nerve cells underneath and result in lesions .

    This is believed to result in the symptoms associated with MS, which include cognitive troubles. MS memory loss and concentration troubles are common. In fact, about 50% of people diagnosed with MS will experience difficulty with one or more of the following:

    • Word finding
    • Memory
    • How quickly new information is processed or time it takes to solve a problem
    • Visual abilities
    • Executive functions

    These cognitive changes typically occur in addition to other symptoms such as fatigue and balance problems. Vertigo and MS commonly go together, and depression, bipolar disorder and mood swings are seen more commonly in people with MS than in the healthy population. Cognitive processes and emotions may be directly influenced by where lesions occur in the brain.

    Recommended Reading: Trigeminal Headache Brain Freeze

    How To Manage Cognitive Changes

    Right now, there arent any drugs to treat cognitive changes in MS. If you have a relapsing kind of MS, your doctor may prescribe a treatment called disease-modifying therapy to prevent more lesions.

    Or the doctor could recommend cognitive rehabilitation. These are sessions where you do different activities to help you live life with your cognitive changes. They can help boost your memory, concentration, or spatial skills.

    You might have these sessions at a clinic or hospital. Or you may meet with individual health care professionals, like neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists. It usually involves hourly sessions for several weeks or months.

    Cognitive rehabilitation often focuses on:

    Retraining exercises. These mental exercises are meant to improve attention, concentration, and more. One promising example is the modified Story Memory Technique, a 10-session program that uses computer software to boost verbal learning and memory.

    Compensatory strategies.These moves can help make up for some of your cognitive changes. They include tried and true tips that will jog your memory, help you manage time, and keep you organized.

    Overview Of Multiple Sclerosis


    Multiple sclerosis is a complex inflammatory and demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system resulting in initially intermittent, and subsequently, often progressive neurological impairment. MS produces characteristic lesions which may affect the brain, the spinal cord, and the optic nerve. It is the leading cause of neurological disability among young adults. The destruction of myelin is thought to be orchestrated by autoreactive T-lymphocytes, but humoral and antibody-mediated immunity also play important roles in the pathogenesis. The loss of the myelin sheath results in decreased axonal transmission and eventually in axonal disruption.1,2 Clinical manifestations are varied, and can involve any functional neurological system depending on the affected area of the CNS. Diagnostic definitions of MS have undergone significant changes over the last decade, and now rely on both clinical and radiographic criteria of disease dissemination in time and space with improved diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. This has enabled early disease detection and treatment initiation.


    Most studies report that the median age of MS onset is 23.5 to 39 years depending on the type of MS, with relapsing patients getting diagnosed at a younger age.8,9 Please refer to the section Clinical Parameters for further discussion about MS diagnostic categories.

    Genetic Determinants

    Environmental Determinants


    Emilija Veljkovic, … Manuel Peitsch, in, 2018

    Also Check: Parkinson Cognitive Impairment

    Ms And Rehab For Your Brain

    If test results show that MS is to blame for spotty memory or poor mental focus, you may want to try rehab to sharpen your thinking. This can include:

    • Memory exercises on a computer. Although the research on brain training is new, it’s encouraging. Studies show that it might improve short-term memory.
    • Crossword or other puzzles or word games
    • Challenging reading

    Simple strategies can help you stay organized and make up for memory lapses.

    Rarely, thinking problems become so serious that someone with MS needs constant care or can’t live on their own. If this becomes an issue, discuss your options with your doctor and family. A social worker or psychologist can also help explore options for care.

    Multiple Sclerosis: Its In Your Head

    Multiple sclerosis by Kaya Hart

    Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that causes damage to your brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Its characterized by lesions, or areas of tissue damage that occur when your immune system behaves abnormally and attacks these areas.

    While many symptoms of MS throughout the body can be caused by lesions in either the brain or the spinal cord, cognitive symptoms of MS those related to your memory, language, and problem solving are believed to be caused only by lesions in the brain.

    Brain lesions are a hallmark of MS, but theyre not the only way MS can affect your brain function. MS can also contribute to brain atrophy, or shrinkage, over time a process that occurs in all people as they age, but typically happens much more quickly in people with MS. Brain atrophy, in particular, can contribute to cognitive symptoms of MS.

    Recommended Reading: How Long Can You Go Without Oxygen To The Brain

    More articles

    Popular Articles