Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a severe chronic neurological disorder in which the insulating cover of nerve cells (myelin sheath) is destroyed. This is referred to as demyelination.
As of 2008, between 2 and 2.5 million people are affected globally
As the disease progresses, the nerves malfunction leading to an inflammatory cascade that damages the brain and spinal cord (CNS).
Four common symptoms of MS include:
Numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation anywhere in the body that doesn’t go away after two weeks
Swelling of the limbs or trunk
Intense itching sensation, especially in the neck area
There are four types of MS.
1: Relapsing-remitting MS- a person will have a period of symptoms followed by a period where there will be no symptoms. This is the most common type of MS.
Unfortunately, the following three are progressive, and symptoms tend not to disappear.
2: Primary progressive—this is associated with the disease being progressive with no remission.
3: Secondary progressive—this is associated with initially having remissions followed by progressive deterioration and more remissions.
4: Progressive relapsing—this is associated with an initial progressive onset where there were no remissions. However, later as the disease progresses, a person may experience remissions.
Unfortunately, there are no specific antibody tests for MS. The disease is confirmed “only” after the person has neurological symptoms twice and lesions are found on an MRI. However, it is important to note that one episode of the common signs that resolve and never come back is considered negative for MS.
Scientists in the field of immunology have been searching for the potential “triggers” that cause the immune cells to attack the myelin sheathing.
Scientists have asked, “is something damaging the insulation of nerve cells”? The literature, including functional medicine practitioners, has supported a few triggers such as gluten, Epstein Barr, vitamin D deficiency, heavy metals toxicity, and microbial pathogens.
Today we will spend a little time on the issue of infectious disease as a potential trigger of MS.
Medical research has identified elevated amounts of immunoglobulins in 95 percent of MS patients. This suggests that the brain is aggressively battling an infection.
Interestingly, the pathogen most commonly involved in this fight infecting the brain is Chlamydia pneumonia.
Researchers from the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine have found that 50% of C. pneumonia is also made inside the central nervous system and the brain.
Further studies have revealed enthusiastically that eradicating Chlamydia pneumonia via the antibiotic minocycline helped improve the symptoms of rapidly worsening MS patients.
Contini C1, Seraceni S, Cultrera R, Castellazzi M, Granieri E, Fainardi E. Chlamydophila pneumoniae Infection and Its Role in Neurological Disorders. Interdiscip Perspect Infect Dis. 2010
Chen X1, Ma X, Jiang Y, Pi R, Liu Y, Ma L. The prospects of minocycline in multiple sclerosis. J Neuroimmunol. 2011 Jun;235(1-2)
Fainardi E1, Castellazzi M, Tamborino C, Seraceni S, Tola MR, Granieri E, Contini C. Chlamydia pneumoniae-specific intrathecal oligoclonal antibody response is predominantly detected in a subset of multiple sclerosis patients with progressive forms. J Neurovirol. 2009 Sep;15(5-6):425-33.
Szczucilski A1, Losy J. Infectious agents in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Przegl Epidemiol. 2006;60 Suppl 1:160-5.