A major discovery has been made towards finding the cause of multiple sclerosis and potentially paves the way for new treatments.
Scientists have found a cellular mechanism which may cause the disease and a potential hallmark which could be a target for future treatment of the auto- immune disorder.
Multiple sclerosis affects around 2.5 million people around the world. MS Ireland estimates up to 9,000 people and their family members live with condition across Ireland.
Typically, people are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s, and it is more common in women than men.
Although the cause has so far been a mystery, the disease causes the body’s immune system to attack myelin — the fatty ‘sheaths’ which protect nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
This leads to brain damage, a reduction in blood supply and oxygen and the formation of lesions in the body. Symptoms can be wide-ranging, and can include muscle spasms, mobility problems, pain, fatigue, and problems with speech.