Disease Focus of the Month-Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): It is the disabling neurological condition which affects mainly young adults in the range of 20-40 years. Women are more prone to this attack than men. Once it is diagnosed, it remains throughout the life, however the effect could be controlled or managed by different kinds of treatments and alternative medicines. MS affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. In MS, the body’s own immune system attacks and damages the myelin that prevents the axon from effectively conducting signals.

Prevalence Rate:Ranges between 2 and 150 per 100,000

Cause:Based on the research, combinations of genetic and environmental factors contribute to this disease.

Genetic :There is no single gene which is proved to be the cause of MS, however it is assumed that it is caused by a combination of different genes. MS is not a hereditary condition; genes are considered just one part of the reasons.

Environmental factors :There is no exact environmental factors found to cause MS but possible factors could be viruses, bacterial infections and levels of Vitamin D. Based on published research, the lack of exposure of sunlight which leads to lack of vitamin D could be one of the reasons. That’s one of the reasons why it is common in countries such as Britian, North America, New Zealand, Canada, Scandinavia, southern Australia and New Zealand.

Treatments:There are numerous treatments for different kinds of symptoms in MS.

Disease modifying drugs :They are used to control the number and severity of relapses. These drugs are not considered a cure for MS but can help slow the disability in the long term.

Complementary and alternative medicines :These are not mainstream medical drugs but used in conjunction with conventional healthcare and are accepted as ‘complementing’ it. There are different kinds of complementary and alternative medicines. Some of them are acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, osteopathy and so on.

Market size: Based on the report by Global data the global MS market was valued at $8.7 billion in 2008 and is expected to grow 4% annually to reach $11.4 billion by 2015.The growth is attributed to strong drug pipelines as well as strong treatment options available. The growth will be supported by high incidence and prevalence rates of disease and high prescription rates of current medicines. Biogen Idec, Teva, Merck and Bayer accounted for 99% of global market share in 2008. Biogen is the market leader with 30% market share.