May 27, 2016 8:23 am
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of a group of medical terms which have become widely recognised, even outside specific medical terminology. However, despite its admission into mainstream language, the full implications of this term still remain shrouded in a veil of medical mystery. This week is all about changing that, and we hope that, by making “multiple sclerosis” our IATE term of the week, we can do our bit to help.
Wednesday 25th of May is World Multiple Sclerosis Day, organised by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) in order to raise awareness of MS as a global issue, connect people living with the disease, and raise funds to support the work of the global MS movement, particularly in MS research and the exchange of information. The event was launched in 2009 with more than 200 events in 67 countries, and has grown every year.
Multiple sclerosis is a demyelinating disease, or a disease of the nervous system, which disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body, by damaging the insulating myelin covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Without this insulating fatty material, the nerves cannot transmit their impulses quickly, which impedes smooth, rapid and co-ordinated movement. The sites where myelin is lost become hardened and scarred, leading to the term “multiple sclerosis”, which means ‘many scars’.
Today, MS is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord), with more than 2,300,000 people affected worldwide. It is a progressive disease, the causes of which are not clear, and for which there is no known cure at present. The symptoms vary widely, initially producing blurred or double vision, often progressing to muscle weakness, difficulty with coordination and balance, and, in the worse cases, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. As well as physical manifestations, the condition can result in mental and sometimes psychiatric problems, which are frequently overlooked.
The World MS Day campaign this year is focused on the theme of independence. The MSIF is encouraging people to complete the phrase “MS doesn’t stop me…” in order to connect people affected, celebrate the way they reclaim their lives from the claws of this debilitating disease, as well as challenging perceptions of what it means to live with MS. Events have been planned in numerous countries and, together with a strong social media presence under the hashtag #strongerthanMS, the MSIF hopes to encourage people to take three key actions: submit, learn and share. With the support of people all around the world, they hope to heal as many of the social, economic and, eventually, physical scars left by multiple sclerosis as they can.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multiple_sclerosis/multiple_sclerosis.htm [Accessed 24 May 16]
- Wikipedia: Multiple Sclerosis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_sclerosis [Accessed 24 May 16]
- Multiple Sclerosis International Federation: http://www.msif.org/ [Accessed 24 May 16]
- World MS Day website: http://www.worldmsday.org/ [Accessed 25 May 16]
Written by Iweta Kalinowska
Communication Trainee at TermCoord
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