EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An illustration of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that damages the central nervous system, resulting in a variety of symptoms including muscle spasms, loss of balance and coordination, numbness, and muscle weakness. In multiple sclerosis, the myelin sheath which protects a neuron's axon is attacked by the immune system, due to what is thought to be a virus or defective gene. When that protective covering is damaged, nerve signals slow down or stop. This illustration depicts a neuron affect by the disease, as well as a cross-sectional view of the brain with scarring and plaque formation brought on by the body's inflammatory response.
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