While ignorance is bliss, knowledge is power. This summer I’ve made it a goal to, along with learning many different activities (I just got my sewing machine and starting creating clothes :D), learn more about the problems the world is currently facing. Life, after all, isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
Poverty and war seem like big topics, but let’s delve into more obscure topics, those that usually don’t get a lot of attention, like multiple sclerosis.
What is multiple sclerosis? It seems like one of those diseases that you don’t know about until you’re diagnosed with it. Believe me, I have that experience. Basically, it’s a surprisingly common nervous system disease that affects your muscles, vision, thinking, coordination…the stuff concerned with your brain. Just like the elusive reason for cancer, nobody knows the cause of multiple sclerosis. It affects women more than it does men, and often begins in the young adult stage of peoples’ lives. Some are even diagnosed at the young age of fifteen. It’s not contagious, nor hereditary, but you have an increased chance of developing the disease if your family tree has a history of it. About one out of every one thousand people develops multiple sclerosis. The chart to the right from MSAA clears things up a bit.
Let’s break down the word. “Multiple” means, of course, many, but what does sclerosis mean? Simply, it derives from a Greek root meaning “scars”. To understand this, we need to understand what happens during multiple sclerosis.
To the left, you can see the normal nerve, containing the nucleus, the axon, and the myelin. Basically what happens is your body “eats away” at the covering over your nerve, the myelin. Under the picture of a normal nerve you see how the myelin is torn away, revealing the axon underneath. What results is the nerve itself wearing away because it is no longer protected by the myelin. This is the scarring process.
So now the big question is, how can I help? Well, for starters, raise awareness of this disease. You can also donate to a variety of associations like MSAA, and creating fundraisers. I created a page for help. The link is below.
Please help by donating on my fund page, or simply leaving a little note in the guest book, Hilary’s MSAA Challenge. Spread the word to your family and friends — educating and raising awareness is the hardest part of the job.
If you have a topic that you would like me to blog about, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.
If you still want to learn more about multiple sclerosis and the effects, Wake County Public Libraries offers a variety of books. Here are a few that you can check out. Just click on titles of the books.
or just check out this online resource:
–Multiple Sclerosis at your Fingertips by Ian Robinson, Stuart Neilson, and Frank Clifford Rose