History of MS & understanding of the disease


After having done some research on the disease’s history…this is what I found, interesting:


Mulitple Sclerosis Historical Facts


1400 — the earliest written record of someone with MS-like symptoms was Lydwina of Schieden, Dutch patron Saint of Ice Skaters.


1838 — medical drawings clearly show what we today recognize as MS, but 19th Century doctors did not understand what they saw and recorded.


1868 — Jean-Martin Charcot, professor of neurology at the University of Paris, wrote the first complete description of MS and the changes in the brain which accompany it. 


1878 — Myelin was discovered by Dr. Ranvier. 


1919 — Abnormalities in the spinal fluid were discovered in MS, but their significance remained puzzling for decades.


1920 — Men were thought to be more susceptible to MS than women, because women were often mistakenly diagnosed with “hysteria”, and also because it seemed that MS symptoms used to flair each month for most female MSers.


1925 — Lord Edgar Douglas Adrian recorded the first electrical nerve transmissions, which helped prove demyelinated nerve cannot sustain electrical impulses.


1928 — The oligodendrocyte cell that makes myelin was discovered.


1935 — Dr. Thomas Rivers demonstrated that nerve tissue, not viruses, produced an MS-like illness. This animal form of MS, called EAE, or experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, paved the way to present theories of auto-immunity, for it demonstrated the body can generate an immunologic attack against itself.


1965 — White blood cells that react against a protein in nerve insulating myelin were discovered in MS.



History of Medicine’s Understanding of Multiple Sclerosis


1890’s — caused by the suppression of sweat, treated with herbs & bed rest, life expectancy after diagnosis was 5 years.

1910’s — caused by an unknown blood toxin, treated with purgatives & stimulants, life expectancy after diagnosis was 10 years.

1940’s — caused by blood clots & poor circulation, treated with drugs that improve circulation, life expectancy after diagnosis was 18 years.

1960’s — caused by allergic reaction, treated with vitamins & antihistimines, life expectancy after diagnosis was 25 years.

1996 — caused by autoimmune reaction possibly linked to virus, treated with steriods & immune system regulating drugs, life expectancy after diagnosis is essentially normal for most.


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