Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

An estimated 400,000 people in the United States live with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a condition in which the body's own immune system damages the fatty layer (myelin sheath) around the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This damage results in the slowing or stopping of nerve signals along the affected nerves and can lead to serious disability.

While the exact cause of MS is unknown, genetic, environmental and viral factors may all play a role. The disease most commonly follows a relapsing-remitting course, meaning patients will have acute flare-ups or attacks of symptoms followed by periods of remission (reduction or disappearance of symptoms). Almost every neurological system can be affected by MS.

Review Date: 
May 15, 2012
Last Updated:
August 5, 2014