Neuroimmunology Disorders

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that affects often brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The onset of disease usually occurs in young adults, and is more common in women. Children can also be affected with MS. Research has shown that 3-10% of all MS patients experience their first attack during childhood. There are certain features that distinguish pediatric MS from adult onset MS such as children have three times as many relapses annually compared to adults. There are different treatments available to help avoid these relapses, and thus prevent future disability.

Devic’s Syndrome (Neuromyelitis optica)

Devic's syndrome is autoimmune central nervous system disorder characterized by transverse myelitis (in which the fatty, protective covering of the spinal cord breaks down) and optic neuritis (in which inflammation of the optic nerve causes loss of vision and eye pain). The disorder affects the optic nerve and the nerves in the spinal cord. Individuals may experience vision impairment and various degrees of paralysis, bladder and/or bowel incontinence, and prolonged episodes of hiccups, vomiting and nausea. The condition causes symptoms similar to those in multiple sclerosis (MS) which is also an autoimmune disorder but Devic’s disease is distinct disease, different from MS, and requires different treatment. Both children and adults can experience NMO, and need to treated to avoid future relapses.