Progress in medical science is usually incremental, with each advance built on an ever-growing foundation shaped by prior investigations. These concepts are equally applicable to multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system with as yet neither a definitive cause nor a curative therapy. Considerable progress has been made in our knowledge of MS since the seminal descriptions of the disease in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is the purpose of this brief review to highlight some of the important historical contributions published prior to 1950 that have contributed to our present knowledge base.
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