Multiple sclerosis (MS) is estimated to affect almost 1 million Americans and the disease actually comes in many different forms. No two cases of MS, a disease that affects the central nervous system, are the same since nerves are affected in different ways and show a variety of symptoms.
Contrary to some popular perception, MS is not always an unrelenting downward spiral. Indeed the disease has an unpredictable progression (some patients will gradually lose the ability to walk, while other patients will have flare-ups of the disease followed by periods of remission).
For years, its root causes were completely unknown. But researchers—including neurologist David Hafler, MD, who directs the Yale Medicine Neurology Department—have begun to identify the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development and progression of MS. Their groundbreaking discoveries help patients to manage the condition and live full and healthy lives never before thought possible.