Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord. It has been described in its diversity of clinical expressions for centuries, and we have a great deal of knowledge about its symptoms and signs, as well as its demographics and statistics. However, we do not have a comprehensive understanding of its cause or the precise mechanism of its destructive power.
Over the past several decades, scientists developed animal models and genetic footprints to learn that the disease is neuroimmunologic. This means that a particular patient, with a particular genetic predisposition and exposure to specific environmental elements (e.g., viruses), develops a cascade of immunologic events leading to MS symptoms. Multiple genetic and environmental cues cause variable clinical expressions of the disease and its prognosis. Our Chicago clinic specializes in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, and provides some of the best MS care available in the area.
Multiple sclerosis manifests when the immune system attacks myelin, the protective coating on nerve fibers. This leads to communication disruption between the brain and other parts of the body. As it progresses, MS can cause permanent nerve damage or deterioration.
There is a wide range of symptoms that can be associated with MS, depending on the affected nerves. While there is not a cure for multiple sclerosis, treatment can help manage symptoms, improve the recovery period after attacks and alter the disease’s progression.
We are at the cusp of understanding the disease on a genetic and molecular level. When Dr. Itkin was a neurology resident at The University of Chicago three decades ago, he was a part of the first immunologic therapy. Today, we have more than a dozen, each offering its own mechanism of activity and complications.
Recently, we started moving away from traditional stepwise approach to therapy and are moving to a more individually based selection. We utilize each patient’s unique biologic and demographic characteristics to provide therapy that is both effective and safe in the long-term.
Our Chicago clinic provides comprehensive, individualized treatment not only to address MS progression, but also to treat its multiple symptoms. Symptoms can range from fatigue and incontinence to pain and spasticity, and everything in between. We have access to all approved MS treatments and constantly evaluate new and experimental therapies.