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Taking a Look at Multiple Sclerosis

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Our bodies spend countless amounts of energy fighting off and defending ourselves from harmful diseases. Diseases come in many shapes and sizes, vastly affecting the systems of our body. One of the most important systems i our body is the nervous system. The nervous system is composed of a complex network of neurons which enables our bodies to incorporate information from the outside world, integrate, and perceive that information. In addition, the nervous system allows us to act through motor control. Fundamentally, the nervous system is vital to our understanding and ability to interact with the world. One important disease that detrimentally affects the nervous system is multiple sclerosis (MS). This debilitating demyelinating disease attacks the human body’s main method of transmitting and communicating information, by inflammation of the Central Nervous System (CNS) of the brain and spinal cord. Normally, the neurons within the CNS are insulated by a substance known as myelin that helps the propagation of action potentials. These myelin sheaths are attacked by the body’s own immune system. This results in a degeneration of the essential bodily functions such as walking, breathing, and even thinking. We believe that the nervous system is one of the most important systems within our bodies. It not only controls our sensory, motor and autonomic responses to the environment, but also is arguably the system that makes us human. We were fascinated by the fact that a simple change in the myelination of cells could cause such a profound effect on th body as a whole. In addition, we have also had personal experiences with individuals who unfortunately have been diagnosed with MS. MS is a unique disease based on its etiology, causes an... ... middle of paper ... ...acerbations of symptoms. Current research is focusing in on mesenchymal stem cells’ ability for differentiation that could potentially be used for immunomodulato effects (Hoogduijn, 2010). However, there are many controversies associated with stem cell research. Furthermore, researchers are exploring possibilities of gene therapy by looking at “susceptibility genes,” or genes in an individual tha increase the risk of having MS. In this way, these susceptible genes can be further studied and used as targets for therapy. (NINDS, 2013; Mowry, 2013). One of the ways in advancing our knowledge and understanding of MS is through continuous research built off on current knowledge of the disease. Many are hopeful that more information about MS will be researched so that one day, even when one is diagnosed with MS, the consequences will not be devastating or life threatening.
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