The pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS) was first described over 150 years ago. An estimated 250,000 to 350,000 people are affected with MS in this country. Young adults between the ages of 20 and 50 years are most commonly affected, with the majority of patients experiencing a relapsing course and progressive functional disability. To date, researchers have been unable to discover a precipitating cause. However, many now believe MS develops due to exposure to some unknown virus in a genetically predisposed individual. The incidence of disease is limited in temperate climates and higher in northern latitudes. Neuroscience nurses frequently care for individuals with MS and must, therefore, maintain a familiarity with the current literature and research.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Colleen Murphy Miller. RN, BS, MS, Buffalo General Hospital, Department of Neurology, 100 High Street, Buffalo, New York 14203. She is a clinical nurse specialist.
Margaret Hens, RN, BS, MS is a clinical coordinator at University Physician's Office. State University of New York at Buffalo.
© 1993 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses