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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Multiple sclerosis


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • MS
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS), specifically the brain and spinal cord. A fatty tissue called myelin surrounds and protects the nerve fibers of the CNS. Myelin insulates the nerves and allows them to transmit electrical impulses from the brain to other parts of the body. In MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, and sometimes the nerve fiber itself is damaged or broken. When myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the nerve’s ability to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted; therefore, nerve signals cannot be transmitted. The disruption of the electrical impulses causes the symptoms associated with MS. [1]
Last updated: 6/24/2013


  1. What is Multiple Sclerosis?. National MS Society Web site. August 3, 2006; Accessed 1/7/2008.
Your Questions Answered
by the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

2 question(s) from the public on Multiple sclerosis have been answered. See questions and answers. You can also submit a new question.

Basic Information

  • Genetics Home Reference contains information on Multiple sclerosis. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition. Click on the link to view the information.
  • The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Multiple sclerosis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

Press Releases

  • On August 13, 2007, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted an article titled Genes Linked to Multiple Sclerosis, which discusses 2 genes that influence the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.  Click on the name of the article to read more.