While the exact cause of MS is unknown,
most researchers believe that the damage to
myelin results from an abnormal response by the
body’s immune system. Normally, the immune system
defends the body against foreign invaders such as
viruses or bacteria. In
autoimmune diseases, the body attacks its own
tissue. It is believed that MS is an autoimmune disease.
In the case of MS, myelin is attacked.
Scientists do not yet know what triggers the immune
system to do this. Most agree that several
factors are involved, including:
heavy metals ( toxicology)]
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There is no evidence that an allergic reaction to a
specific environmental allergen is involved in
MS is widely held to be an autoimmune disease,
meaning that the immune system is reacting against a
component of the normal antigens in the body as if
these antigens were foreign.
Clusters of MS are of interest because they may
provide clues to environmental or genetic risk
factors, which might cause or trigger the disease.
The study of all factors that may be involved in the
development of MS.
A substance rich in protein and lipids—fatty
substances—that forms layers around the nerve fibers
and acts as insulation.
Scientists have long been searching for
an infectious agent that might trigger
MS. While many different viruses have
been suggested, none has yet been
confirmed. Chlamydia pneumoniae, a
bacterial agent, has also been suggested
but never proven. Although no trigger
has yet been identified, most MS experts
believe that some infectious agent is
involved in initiating the disease
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