MS in the brain cells shows up on MRI scans as brightly colored areas, when these cells are inflamed. When Multiple Sclerosis in the brain is significant, people experience a variety of symptoms. The severity of each symptom depends on the amount of inflammation and scarring present. As the immune system attacks nerve cells in the brain, the myelin sheath is damaged along the outer portion of each cell. Damage to the cells is visible through MRI scanning of brain tissue. Gadolinium is a colorless dye used to identify inflammation in the brain of MS patients during an MRI. The scarring present on the scan should coincide with the degree of severity for most symptoms.
Brain lesions cause the upper body to be affected most of all. MS patients can experience numbness and tingling of the face, slurred speech, double vision, headaches, fatigue, loss of balance, difficulty thinking clearly, and loss of the inability to swallow. Some of these symptoms are present during the early onset of MS and the severity will depend on the individual as well. Any of these symptoms can come and go during the early stages of MS. As the disease progresses, symptoms may increase in numbers and in strength.
Medications used to control these symptoms work for all stages of MS. Unfortunately there isn’t a single drug that is able to combat all symptoms at once.
Possible Effects of MS Affecting Nerves in the Brain
As the demyelination of nerve cells within the brain continues to occur, physical signs often get worse. Sometimes the damage cells are able to repair themselves during the early stages of MS. This means symptoms will come and go and any sign of disability often leaves when the symptoms do. It’s the white matter tracts of the brain that are affected during flare-ups in MS patients. Most often, the buildup of lesions, or plaques as these areas of scarring are sometimes referred to, cause a physical disability of some sort. However, it is possible for the cognitive portion of the brain to be equally as affected.
After each attack of MS in the brain cells, the brain actually attempts to repair itself. Though these cells try to fix the damage done by the immune system, Multiple Sclerosis in the brain still affects the MS patient over time. Researchers hope to one day find a way to enable the brain to fully repair itself, thus reducing signs of demyelination in the nerve cells of the brain.