Please join in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
My great friend, Dan Chatten, is riding 150 miles on a bicycle as part of the Multiple Sclerosis Cape Cod Getaway Bike Tour (MS-150 CCG Bike Tour 2010).
The MS 150 Cape Cod Getaway is the largest MS 150 mile ride in New England. Over 2000 riders will pedal from Quincy, Massachusetts through the coastal towns of Massachusetts' South Shore to the beginning of Cape Cod starting on Saturday, June 26th. They will end the first day at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne. Early Sunday morning, they ride across the Bourne bridge and make their way down to Provincetown to complete the 150 mile ride.
Dan (as I) are very fortunate that MS does not affect anybody in my immediate family, but it does affect the life of millions of people in this country.
Your support contributes towards finding a cure for the many forms of MS, but your donation also helps to provide care for those individuals who are in need of help on a daily basis. Funds will also be used to pay for local educational, support and advocacy programs for the 14,000 individuals and their families in Massachusetts and New Hampshire that are affected by MS.
Riding 150 miles may not be easy, but it is not as hard as living with the devastating and relentless effects of MS every single day.
Every single dollar that you contribute will make a difference, so $5, $10, $15, $25, $50 or whatever you can donate would be a great! Even one dollar.
How do I donate?
Your support will mean so much to me and the over 400,000 Americans living with MS.
Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. Today, new treatments and advances in research are giving new hope to people affected by the disease. Click here for more information about MS.
What causes MS
While the cause (etiology) of MS is still not known, scientists believe that a combination of several factors may be involved. Studies are ongoing in the areas of immunology (the science of the body’s immune system), epidemiology (that looks at patterns of disease in the population), and genetics in an effort to answer this important question. Understanding what causes MS will be an important step toward finding more effective ways to treat it and—ultimately—cure it, or even prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Who gets MS
In the United States today, there are approximately 400,000 people with multiple sclerosis (MS)—with 200 more people diagnosed every week. Worldwide, MS is thought to affect more than 2.1 million people. While the disease is not contagious or directly inherited, epidemiologists—the scientists who study patterns of disease—have identified factors in the distribution of MS around the world that may eventually help determine what causes the disease. These factors include gender, genetics, age, geography, and ethnic background.
Patterns in the Distribution of MS
- As in other autoimmune diseases, MS is significantly more common (at least 2-3 times) in women than men. This gender difference has stimulated important research initiatives looking at the role of hormones in MS. Read more on autoimmune diseases.
- MS is not directly inherited, but genetics play an important role in who gets the disease. While the risk of developing MS in the general population is 1/750, the risk rises to 1/40 in anyone who has a close relative (parent, sibling, child) with the disease. Even though identical twins share the same genetic makeup, the risk for an identical twin is only 1/4—which means that some factor(s) other than genetics are involved.
- While most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, MS can appear in young children and teens as well as much older adults. Studying the disease in different age groups may help scientists determine the cause of MS and explain why the disease course differs from one person to another. Important questions include why the disease appears so early in some children and why people who are diagnosed after age 50 tend to have a more steadily progressive course that primarily affects their ability to walk.
- In all parts of the world, MS is more common at northern latitudes that are farther from the equator and less common in areas closer to the equator. Researchers are now investigating whether increased exposure to sunlight and the vitamin D it provides may have a protective effect on those living nearer the equator.
*MS occurs in most ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos, but is more common in Caucasians of northern European ancestry. However some ethnic groups, such as the Inuit, Aborigines and Maoris, have few if any documented cases of MS regardless of where they live. These variations that occur even within geographic areas with the same climate suggest that geography, ethnicity, and other factors interact in some complex way.
Are the Numbers of People with MS Increasing?
While more people are being diagnosed with MS today than in the past, epidemiologists have found no evidence to suggest that the disease is on the increase. More likely explanations include a greater awareness of the disease, improved medical care, and more effective tools for making the diagnosis. In addition, the availability of effective treatments makes physicians more likely to communicate the diagnosis to their patients.
What are MS Clusters?
A "cluster" of MS can be defined as the perception that a very high number of cases of MS have occurred over a specific time period and/or in a certain area. Such clusters of MS—or of other diseases where clusters are occasionally reported—are of interest because they may provide clues to environmental or genetic risk factors which might cause or trigger the disease. So far, cluster studies (in the Faroe Islands, Galion, OH, DePue, IL, and El Paso, TX, among others) have not produced clear evidence for the existence of any causative or triggering factor or factors in MS. more information about MS Clusters.
What are the symptoms of MS?
In multiple sclerosis , damage to the myelin in the central nervous system (CNS), and to the nerve fibers themselves, interferes with the transmission of nerve signals between the brain and spinal cord and other parts of the body. This disruption of nerve signals produces the primary symptoms of MS, which vary depending on where the damage has occurred.
Over the course of the disease, some symptoms will come and go, while others may be more lasting.
Most Common Symptoms
Some symptoms of MS are much more common than others.
Less Common Symptoms
These symptoms also occur in MS, but much less frequently.
Fore more information you should visit The National Multiple Sclerosis Society website.