Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the commonest disease of the central nervous system (CNS) among young adults. It affects more than one million people world-wide and about 85,000 in the UK. About twice as many women as men are diagnosed with MS.
The CNS comprises the brain and spinal cord, which, with the nerves connecting to the rest of the body, form the body’s communication network. Nerves are protected by a covering called the Myelin sheath. This is often likened to insulation materials around an electric wire. In MS, the myelin sheath is damaged. This damage alters the way messages (nerve impulses) are conducted to and from the brain, which will disrupt normal functioning of the body.