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February 1983

Multiple Sclerosis

Author Affiliations

From the Rush Multiple Sclerosis Center and the Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush Medical College, Chicago.

Arch Dermatol. 1983;119(2):178-181. doi:10.1001/archderm.1983.01650260086024

Multiple sclerosis (MS) as a nosologic entity has a history of a little more than 110 years. Early partial descriptions are encountered in the first half of the 19th century, but the more definitive clinical and pathologic accounts are attributed to Charcot1 in 1868.

It is a chronic disease of the CNS's white matter characterized primarily by scattered foci of demyelination that result in impulse conduction abnormalities of varying severities. These translate clinically into varied motor, sensory, and, at times, cognitive signs and symptoms. No single symptom or symptom complex can be considered pathognomonic. The diagnosis relies on a combination of features, eg, a remitting course, signs and symptoms reflecting multiple foci of CNS involvement, abnormalities of certain laboratory test results, and the exclusion of other disease entities.

A common manifestation combines both an intermittent and progressive pattern of abnormality of motor and sensory functions in young adults. These