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Controversies in Neurology
October 2004

Is Multiple Sclerosis an Autoimmune Disorder?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.




Copyright 2004 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2004

Arch Neurol. 2004;61(10):1615-1616. doi:10.1001/archneur.61.10.1615

The pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been debated for decades. At times the arguments have been based on equal parts speculation, fact, and whimsy. (What happened, for example, to the notion that the increased incidence of MS in northern latitudes occurs because people in these colder regions are more likely to be exposed to pet-borne viruses because their animals remain indoors?) As Mark Twain once quipped, “The fascinating thing about science is that one gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” Some speculation is not always bad, of course, because some concept of what is possible is necessary to develop a model that can be objectively studied.