Historical Facts 1. It was Dr. Jean Martin Charcot (1825 - 1893) who first scientifically described, documented, and named the disease process, we still call Multiple Sclerosis. So named from the many scars found widely dispersed throughout the central nervous system (CNS),but are usually found to be arrayed in a symetrical pattern near the Cerebrum's Lateral Ventricles.
2. The first patient Dr. Freud ever treated was his former Nanny, who had Multiple Sclerosis. "Creeping paralysis" as it was called in those days, was considered a mental condition caused by "female hysteria". As such, little or no extensive research was conducted into the mysteries of MS until very recent times.
3. Dr. V.B. Dolgopol in 1938, described a case of optic neuritis, caused by severe demyelination and attributed it to Devic's Syndrone. This syndrone was considered to be a subclass of Multiple Sclerosis during this time period.
4. Merck Manual - 16'th Edition - 1992 States: "Plaques or islands of demyelination along with destruction of both oligodendroglia and perivascular inflammation are disseminated through the CNS, primarily in the white matter, with a predilection for the lateral and posterior column (esp. in the cervical and dorsal regions), the optic nerves and periventricular areas.
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The course is highly varied and unpredictable and in most patients, remittent. At first, months or years of remission may seperate episodes, especially when the disease begins with retrobulbar neuritis (optic neuritis), but usually the intervals of freedom grow shorter, and eventually permanent, progressive disability occurs.
Some remissions have even lasted 25 years or more. However, some patients have very frequent attacks and are rapidly incapacitated; in a few, particularly when onset is in middle age, the disease course is progressively and unremittingly downhill, and occasionally it is fatal within a year."
Tracts of the midbrain, pons and cerebellum also are affected, cell bodies and axons usually are preserved, especially in early lesions. Later, axons may be destroyed, usually in the long tracts, and fibrous gliosis - this is what gives the tracts their 'sclerotic' appearance - Often both early and late lesions may be found simultaneously. Chemical changes in lipid and protein constituents of myelin have been demonstrated in and around the plaques.