Is there such a thing as multiple sclerosis syndrome, or is it more accurate to speak of a multiple sclerosis-like syndrome? Well, the answer to this question depends upon whom you ask.

Conventional thought has it that multiple sclerosis is a disease, but there are those who think that it is more accurate to describe it as multiple sclerosis syndrome. What is the distinction between these two descriptions? A syndrome is typically described as a cluster of symptoms that often occur in association with each other. They are viewed as pointing to one disease or another, but one cannot take it for granted that they have a single cause. As for disease, it is characterized by an identifiable cluster of symptoms, changes to the affected person’s body, and a readily identifiable cause.


What is Multiple Sclerosis Syndrome?


Those who think of multiple sclerosis as a syndrome will point to the fact that much remains unknown about its precise causes. Various studies have been done showing genetic involvement, and the implication of such factors as vitamin D deficiency, viral infection or bacterial infection, but few doctors are willing to say that multiple sclerosis is definitely caused by one specific factor. Some doctors point out that there are different possible pathways that lead to the development of the symptoms that are characterized as MS symptoms. They point out that this variety of pathways and the fact that they can all trigger MS indicates that we should speak of multiple sclerosis syndrome. These doctors may argue that the reason why so much remains murky about MS is that the researchers and doctors who deal with the condition are actually dealing with more than one condition. They may point out that, as long as conventional medicine doesn’t recognize that it is dealing with multiple sclerosis syndrome and not multiple sclerosis disease, it will always be difficult to come up with conclusive data about the nature of multiple sclerosis.


Clinically Isolated Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and Conditions that Mimic Multiple Sclerosis


Now, it must be pointed out that, among those who think of multiple sclerosis as a disease, it is recognized that there are other diseases that mimic multiple sclerosis in some ways and that can easily be diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. These include Alexander disease, Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Sjögren syndrome, SCA-7, Neurosarcoidosis and Lyme disease. There is also an entity that is described as clinically isolated syndrome. Multiple sclerosis may or may not result from this first neurological episode experienced by a patient who has suffered demyelination and inflammation at one or more CNS site.