Demyelination and Multiple Sclerosis

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Demyelination and Multiple Sclerosis

Myelin is a sheath or an insulating layer that normally forms around the nerves. This includes the nerves in the spinal cord and the brain. It is made up of fatty substances and protein and allows for electrical impulses to transmit from different parts of the body to the brain efficiently and quickly through the nerves. Demyelination occurs when the myelin experiences damage. The disease tends to damage the myelin sheath surrounding the optic nerves, spinal cord, and the brain (Martino & Adorini, 2012). This results in the nerve impulses slowing or even stopping at some instances, something that causes neurological problems.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the spinal cord and the brain, which is potentially disabling. Under MS, the immune system tends to attack the myelin sheath covering nerve fibers, thus causing communication problems between the body and the brain (Rensel & Gray, 2016). MS is an autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system by causing inflammation. This is why MS is taken to imply “scar tissue in multiple areas” (Kim, 2012).

The relationship between Multiple Sclerosis and Demyelination is that MS is the most common demyelinating disease. Data from the National MS Society shows that it affects approximately 2.3 million people across the globe (Rensel & Gray, 2016). Demyelination in Multiple Sclerosis tends to occur in the spinal cord and the white matter of the brain.

Multiple Sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases tend to result in muscle weakness, vision loss, muscle stiffness and spasms, change in sensation, loss of coordination, and pain, among others (Kim, 2012). Currently, there are no cures that are in existence for demyelinating diseases. Their symptoms and progression tend to differ from person to person. It is important to get early treatment as it focuses on modifying the course of the disease, minimizing the effects of the attacks, and managing the symptoms.


Kim, S. (2012). Myelination and Demyelination: Implications for Multiple Sclerosis. Springer Verlag.

Martino, G., & Adorini, L. (2012). From basic immunology to immune-mediated demyelination. Milano: Springer Science & Business Media.

Rensel, M., & Gray, O. (2016). Fast Facts: Multiple Sclerosis. Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers.