Not sure but read your message. I typed history of MS into ‘Google’ and ‘one’ of the responses was -
Historical Information about MS
If you have information that you would like to see here, please contact me at: email@example.com
Return to MS IndexReturn to Home Page
Historical Facts Mulitple Sclerosis Historical Facts History of Medicine’s Understanding
It was Dr. Jean Martin Charcot (1825 - 1893) who first scientifically
described, documented, and named the disease process, we still call
Multiple Sclerosis. So named from the many scars found widely dispersed
throughout the central nervous system (CNS),but are usually found to be
arrayed in a symetrical pattern near the Cerebrum’s Lateral Ventricles.
The first patient Dr. Freud ever treated was his former Nanny, who had
Multiple Sclerosis. “Creeping paralysis” as it was called in those days, was
considered a mental condition caused by “female hysteria”. As such, little
or no extensive research was conducted into the mysteries of MS until
very recent times.
Dr. V.B. Dolgopol in 1938, described a case of optic neuritis, caused by
severe demyelination and attributed it to Devic’s Syndrone. This syndrone
was considered to be a subclass of Multiple Sclerosis during this time
Merck Manual - 16’th Edition - 1992
States: "Plaques or islands of demyelination along with destruction of both
oligodendroglia and perivascular inflammation are disseminated through
the CNS, primarily in the white matter, with a predilection for the lateral
and posterior column (esp. in the cervical and dorsal regions), the optic
nerves and periventricular areas.
Tracts of the midbrain, pons and cerebellum also are affected, cell bodies
and axons usually are preserved, especially in early lesions. Later, axons
may be destroyed, usually in the long tracts, and fibrous gliosis - this is
what gives the tracts their ‘sclerotic’ appearance - Often both early and
late lesions may be found simultaneously. Chemical changes in lipid and
protein constituents of myelin have been demonstrated in and around the
The course is highly varied and unpredictable and in most patients,
remittent. At first, months or years of remission may seperate episodes,
especially when the disease begins with retrobulbar neuritis (optic
neuritis), but usually the intervals of freedom grow shorter, and eventually
permanent, progressive disability occurs.
Some remissions have even lasted 25 years or more. However, some
patients have very frequent attacks and are rapidly incapacitated; in a few,
particularly when onset is in middle age, the disease course is
progressively and unremittingly downhill, and occasionally it is fatal within
Back to Top
Mulitple Sclerosis Historical Facts
- the earliest written record of someone with MS was Lydwina of
Schieden, Dutch patron Saint of Ice Skaters.
- medical drawings clearly show what we today recognize as MS,
but 19th century doctors did not understand what they saw and
- Jean-Martin Charcot, professor of neurology at the University of
Paris, wrote the first complete description of MS and the changes in
the brain which accompany it.
- Myelin was discovered by Dr. Ranvier.
- Abnormalities in the spinal fluid were discovered in MS, but their
signifigance remained puzzeling for decades.
- Men were thought to be more susceptible to MS than women.
Because women were often mistakenly diagnosed with “hysteria”. -
MS symptoms tend to flair each month for most female MSers.
- Lord Edgar Douglas Adrian recorded the first electrical nerve
transmissions, which helped prove demyelinated nerve cannot
sustain electrical impulses.
- The oligodendrocyte cell that makes myelin was discovered.
- Dr. Thomas Rivers demonstrated that nerve tissue, not viruses,
produced a MS-like illness. This animal form of MS, called EAE or
experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, paved the way to our
present theories of auto- immunity, for it demonstrated the body
can generate an immunologic attack against itself.
- White blood cells that react against a protein in nerve insulating
myelin were discovered in MS.
Back to Top
History of Medicine’s Understanding of Multiple Sclerosis
1890’s - caused by the supression of sweat; treated with herbs & bedrest;
life expectancy after diagnosis was 5 years.
1910’s - caused by an unknown blood toxin; treated with purgatives &
stimulants; life expectancy after diagnosis was 10 years.
1940’s - caused by blood clots & poor circulation; treated with drugs that
improve circulation; life expectancy after diagnosis was 18 years.
1960’s - caused by allergic reaction; treated with vitamins & antihistimines;
life expectancy after diagnosis was 25 years.
1996 - caused by autoimmune reaction possibly linked to virus; treated
with steriods & immune system regulating drugs; life expectancy after
diagnosis is essentially normal for most.
Back to Top
© Copyright 1998 - present
Permission is hereby granted to MS Societies and all MSers to publish information from these pages provided that no financial
reward is gained and attribution is given to the author/s.
It been around a long time - I suffer similiar!