Multiple Sclerosis

Medical Topic Research Blog by Aleah Jones

Definitions and Word Analyses of Five Medical Terms

1. Word Analysis of Pathology

path/o (CF)= disease

-logy (S)= study of

Definition: The study of disease

2. Word Analysis of Degenerative

de- (P)= down, away from

gen (R)= formation, produce

-ive (S)= nature of, quality of

Definition: Disorder or condition leading to progressive loss of function

3. Word Analysis of Autoimmune

auto- (P)= self

immun/o (CF)= safe, immunity

Definition: disease characterized by abnormal functioning of the immune system that causes your immune system to produce antibodies against your own tissues

4. Word Analysis of Sclerotic

scler/o (CF)= hardening, sclera

-tic (S)= pertaining to

Definition: pertaining to or having sclerosis

5. Word Analysis of Demyelination

de- (P)= down, away from

myel/o (CF)= spinal cord

-ion (S)= process

Definition: Loss of the myelin covering of some nerve fibers resulting in their impaired function


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressive, inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) affecting about 2.5 million people worldwide (Burke, Hooper, Barlow & Hatter, 2013). Strong evidence suggests that MS is an autoimmune disease directed against CNS myelin or oligodendrocytes (cells that produce the myelin for the CNS) (Murray, Saunders & Holland, 2012). MS affects more women than men (3:1) and onset is most common between 20-40 years of age (Burke, Hooper, Barlow & Hatter, 2013). MS can be clinically categorized as either relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS, observed in 85–90% of patients) or primary progressive MS (PPMS) (Hafler, 2004).

The exact cause of MS remains unknown. However, research in the last decade has shed new light on important factors contributing to the development of MS. Genetics play a major role. MS is not directly inherited; however, there is an increased genetic susceptibility in those with a family history of the disease. Other contributing factors include environment (increased prevalence as one moves away from the equator), exposure to pathogens, and vitamin D exposure (Burke, Hooper, Barlow & Hatter, 2013).

Multiple sclerosis can cause significant symptoms including difficulties with cognition, mood, vision, speech and swallowing, upper and lower limb function, bladder and bowel function, neuropathic pain, sexual function, and fatigue. Symptoms of MS vary from person to person (Burke, Hooper, Barlow & Hatter, 2013). The outcome in patients with relapsing-remitting MS is variable; untreated, approximately 50% of all MS patients require the use of a walking aid within ten years after clinical onset (Hafler, 2004). Axonal damage occurs in addition to demyelination and may be the cause of later permanent disability (Murray, Saunders & Holland, 2012).

The use of MRI has had a major impact on allowing the early and more precise diagnosis of the disease. Therapies for MS have emerged over the last two decades with the demonstration of three classes of immunomodulating therapies that impact the course of early MS: immunosuppressive drugs such as mitoxantrone and cyclophosphamide (Hafler, 2004). Irreversible damage to the central nervous system in MS can start during the early stages of the disease. Consequently, early treatment is now recommended to achieve the optimal therapeutic effect. Generally, the newer treatments while having greater efficacy, have additional safety concerns which bring new issues to the patient (Burke, Hooper, Barlow & Hatter, 2013).

Works Cited

Burke, T., Hooper, K., Barlow, S., & Hatter, L. (2013). Multiple sclerosis. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 21(5), 30-33. Retrieved on March 18, 2016, from

Hafler, D.A. (2004). Multiple sclerosis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 113(6), 788-794. retrieved on March 18, 2016, from

Murray, T.J., Saunders, C., & Holland, N. (2012). Multiple sclerosis: A guide for the newly diagnosed (4th ed.). New York: Demos Health. Retrieved on March 18, 2016, from