InforMS: Summer 2009

 

Tip of the Iceberg: Progressive MS

The diagnosis of “secondary progressive MS” has long been thought to mark a shift in the course of the disease from a primarily inflammatory process to a neurodegenerative one. Although the majority of people with MS are initially diagnosed as “relapsing-remitting,” about half of them, after about ten years, will transition to a secondary progressive disease course. This progressive phase is characterized by gradual loss of function and thought by some to herald a shift in MS pathology -- from inflammation to some other process that causes neurons to die in the absence of inflammation.  The nature of this “neurodegenerative process” has never been well understood. 

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