World Multiple Sclerosis Day, falling on May 30, invites dialogue on the disease. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive disease where the insulating covers of the nervous system are damaged. MS is also known as encephalomyelitis disseminata, and its symptoms include muscle weakness, double vision, and mental/physical problems. Due to the lack of research studies on the disease, the exact causes behind it are generally unknown. Many scientists believe that there might be a connection between the onset of the disease and genes and/or nerve-cell dysfunction. Furthermore, there is no permanent cure as of yet. The symptoms can be relieved using the right set of treatments and medication.
HISTORY OF WORLD MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS DAY
The first World Multiple Sclerosis Day was celebrated in 2009 by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF). MSIF was officially established in 1967 as an international body that coordinated with national MS organizations belonging to many countries like Turkey, Slovakia, India, and the U.S.
The federation aims to bring light to MS and the scientific research related to it. The theme for this year’s World Multiple Sclerosis Day is ‘Connect.’ This theme, which continues from 2020 through 2022, focuses on bringing the world together by forming a connection with each other as well as the self for the sake of better care. MSIF spends the whole month of May and early June spreading awareness and hope about MS through their themed campaigns.
Around 2.8 million people suffer from MS each year. This disease relates to damaged myelin sheaths that cover the nervous system in the spinal cord and brain. The damaged myelin sheaths become covered in lesions or plaques, and this is where the disease gets its name — ‘multiple sclerosis’ means ‘multiple scars.’ MS’s exact causes remain unknown, but some scientists attribute genetics, infectious agents, and cell dysfunction to the disease’s causes. Symptoms include muscle spasms, speech and swallowing problems, coordination and balance issues, depression, mood swings, and so forth. While there’s no permanent cure for MS, ongoing research relates to treating the symptoms with drugs and neuroprotection strategies.