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Multiple Sclerosis: Home

This guide is about the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS).


This guide is intended to provide a general overview of Multiple Sclerosis and some of the resources that are available for those living with MS as well as friends and family members. Hopefully this guide will give you the tools and confidence to perform your own, more detailed research.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease that damages the mylean sheath, the fatty material that surrounds and protects nerve fibers, in varying degrees. The damage slows, distorts, or blocks messages sent from the brain to the rest of the body, leading to symptoms such as sensory loss, muscle cramping, spasticity, and/or weakness, cognitive problems in thinking and memory, visual impairment, and trouble with coordination and balance, among others.

The cause of MS is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disease (when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue). MS affects women more often than men, and generally begins affecting individuals between the ages of 20 and 40, with symptoms continuing throughout one's life. There is no definitive test for MS, so diagnosis is done through medical histories, physical exams, neurological exams, MRIs, and other tests. There is also no cure for MS, though medicines and occupational and physical therapies may help to slow and control symptoms. 

 Below are some sites for further reading about symptoms, management, diagnosis, and more.

Consumer Health Websites

The following are among the Medical Library Association's (MLA) top ten general health websites. The link to each site will direct you to the "Overview" page for Multiple Sclerosis. If you would like to see other MLA-recommended health sites, click the following link: MLA Top Health Websites.

Subject Guide