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Gifts and Collectibles in this Department of the White House Gift Shop Help Support the Research Projects of the Keystone Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with Direct and Regular Donations by the White House Gift Shop, Est. 1946®

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Over 400,000 Americans suffer from MS, over 200 new cases are diagnosed each week, pediatric MS now represents 10% of all MS cases, and most people know a person or have a family member who suffers from MS.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated response in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS symptoms are variable and unpredictable. No two people have exactly the same symptoms, and each person’s symptoms can change or fluctuate over time. One person might experience only one or two of the possible symptoms while another person experiences many more.

Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40. Pediatric MS, however, now represents 10% of all MS cases. The initial symptom of MS is often blurred or double vision, red-green color distortion, or even blindness in one eye. Most MS patients experience muscle weakness in their extremities and difficulty with coordination and balance. These symptoms may be severe enough to impair walking or even standing. In the worst cases, MS can produce partial or complete paralysis. Most people with MS also exhibit paresthesias, abnormal sensory feelings such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles" sensations, and fatigue. Some may also experience pain. Speech impediments, tremors, and dizziness are other frequent complaints. Occasionally, people with MS have hearing loss.

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