After battling lot of sclerosis because that decades, Annette Funicello died from symptom of the disease.That doesn’t average that multiple sclerosis actually eliminated her, says Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl, a professor in the department of neurology at the college of California, Los Angeles and director the the UCLA ms program.“MS walk not directly shorten the lifespan,” Voskuhl explains. “It doesn’t kill peop

After battling lot of sclerosis for decades, Annette Funicello died from symptom of the disease.

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That doesn’t median that ms actually killed her, claims Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl, a professor in the department of neurology in ~ the college of California, Los Angeles and also director of the UCLA multiple sclerosis program.

“MS walk not straight shorten the lifespan,” Voskuhl explains. “It doesn’t kill human being directly. If you’ve had a an extremely severe type for a very, really long time you can have the same complications that anyone has who is immobilized. Friend can acquire pneumonia. Friend can gain bed sores. You deserve to have difficulty eating.”

These days the prognosis because that the vast bulk of MS patients is far better than that was when Funicello to be diagnosed since there space treatments that deserve to slow the development of the disease. “There to be a transformation in MS medicine in the so late 90s,” Voskuhl says. “Those drugs don’t prevent the disease, but they slow it down.”

If you to be diagnosed year ago, before there were good treatments, many brain cells can be lost. “Early therapy is very important,” Voskuhl says.

No one understands specifically why ms strikes some people and also not others. However in some, the immune system goes out of whack and also begins to attack the outer covering the axons, which space the structures that role like phone present to carry information from cell to cell in the brain.

In human being with MS, immune cell chew far at the axons’ outer covering, or myelin, and also that renders signals ragged. The case is comparable to a call line through a damaged rubber coating: Voices sound ragged if the damages is minor, an unintelligible if that worse.

There’s a wide variation in the type of symptoms civilization experience with MS. Some simply feel strange sensations, favor tingling, or lose feeling in body components from time come time.

Some construct cognitive deficits. “It’s not choose Alzheimer’s,” Voskuhl explains. “It’s not like everyone to know you have it. Usually the patience knows. It’s commonly involves difficulties with handling speed. They can not think as easily as they used to.”

And some finish up with troubles moving, prefer Funicello did. It all counts on what area of the brain is attacked.

As it turns out, the type of symptom a human experiences at an early stage may give doctors a clue as to whether the disease will be aggressive or mild. “In that respect, it’s much better to have sensory symptoms than motor problems or balance issues,” says Dr. Clyde Markowitz director of the MS facility at the university of Pennsylvania.

While the brand-new drugs nothing repair damaged axons, they execute quiet under the immune device so there space fewer attacks.

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Had Funicello to be born a te or for this reason later, there’s a an excellent chance that her condition might have taken a different course, professionals say.

“She to be diagnosed at a time when we didn’t have any type of therapies available,” Markowitz says. “We see much less of the guaranteed steady phase now.”

Heart wrenching videos of Funicello in her later on years display a woman trapped in ~ an immovable body. That quite feasible that Funicello remained cognitively intact also as her body to be failing her, claims Dr. Absent Heyman, director of the Pittsburgh Institute for MS care and research in ~ the college of Pittsburgh clinical Center. “I have actually seen patients who room unable to relocate their eight or legs that room still intellectually active.”