Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by relapsing episodes of uncoordinated muscle movement, paresthesia and visual impairment caused by demyelinating lesions in the white matter of the central nervous system. In November 27 Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, Jeremy Chataway and colleagues from Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, UK show that genes influence not only susceptibility to MS, but also the processes underlying the progression of the disease.

Chataway et al. studied a cohort of 262 pairs of coaffected siblings from 250 families with MS. They found that within a sibship, the initial symptoms are more likely to be different than the same. But, once the MS is established, the disease progress is identical in 50% of the siblings, finishing in similar disability and handicap scores (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2001, 71:757–761).

"Perhaps this is the expression of the hidden rounds of inflammation, demyelination and...

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