American Hospital Dubai launches new clinic dedicated to diagnosing and treating multiple sclerosis

United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, May 24 - 2011 @ 11:09

MS has a devastating effect, causing progressive interference with functions that are controlled by the nervous system such as vision, speech, walking, writing, and memory. MS can affect people of all ages but most commonly between the age of 20-50 and women are twice as likely to develop MS at a younger age.

The new weekly clinic, which operates as a subspecialty of the hospital’s neuroscience center of excellence, will operate on Monday afternoons (from 13:30 to 16:00) with a team of four neurology specialists.

The causes of MS are not known but it is widely accepted that genetic, immunological, and environmental factors play a role.

There are two types of multiple sclerosis. 65%-80% of sufferers begin with relapsing-remitting (RR) MS, in which they experience a series of attacks followed by complete or partial disappearance of the symptoms (remission) until another attack occurs (relapse) It may be weeks to decades between relapses. In primary-progressive (PP) MS, there is a continuous, gradual decline in a person’s physical abilities from the outset rather than relapses. About 10-20% of individuals begin with PP-MS.

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis may be single or multiple and may range from mild to severe in intensity and short to long in duration. They include visual disturbances, limb weakness and difficulty with coordination and balance, muscle spasms, fatigue, numbness, and there may be a loss of sensation, speech impediment, tremors, or dizziness. 50% of people experience mental changes such as decreased concentration, attention deficits, some degree of memory loss, inability to perform sequential tasks, or impairment in judgment, Other symptoms may include depression, manic depression, paranoia, or an uncontrollable urge to laugh and weep. Heat appears to intensify multiple sclerosis symptoms for about 60% of those with the disease. Pregnancy seems to reduce the number of attacks, especially during the third trimester.

Treatment options include improving the speed of recovery from attacks (treatment with steroid drugs); reducing the number of attacks or the number of MRI lesions; or attempting to slow progression of the disease (treatment with disease modifying drugs or DMDs).

Due to the broad range and subtleties of symptoms, multiple sclerosis may not be diagnosed for months to years after the onset of symptoms. Diagnosis techniques include MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, electro-physiological tests, and examining the cerebro-spinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Dr. Stefan Diez, board certified neurologist and consultant neurologist at the American Hospital Dubai, says, “Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system for which a definitive diagnosis is often difficult – sometimes taking months or even years to diagnose. Patients affected by MS often become desperate because of the conflicting information from different sources. In recent years, treatment of MS has become more successful as well as demanding in terms of shared decision making for patient and doctor, in weighing the risks and benefits of the various treatment options. Treatment with interferons, monoclonal antibodies and immunosuppressants are highly effective but require strict monitoring and safety precautions.”

According to Dr Diez, there is little hard information available about the incidence of MS in the Middle East, but recent estimates suggest that the number of sufferers could be comparable to the US, where more than 400,000 people suffer from MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the nerves of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) degenerate. Myelin, which provides a covering or insulation for nerves, improves the conduction of impulses along the nerves and also is important for maintaining the health of the nerves. In multiple sclerosis, inflammation causes the myelin to disappear. Consequently, the electrical impulses that travel along the nerves decelerate, that is, become slower. In addition, the nerves themselves are damaged. As more and more nerves are affected, a person experiences a progressive interference with functions that are controlled by the nervous system such as vision, speech, walking, writing, and memory.

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Tuesday, May 24- 2011 @ 11:09 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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