Why haven't doctors been able to get farther with MS?

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 10/10/2006 6:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I have a friend with PPMS and I've watched her go through so much. It's hard sometimes knowing so many people with MS and not be able to do anything to help because my fatigue is too much for me to go to college and study as a doctor or anything else in the medical profession.
I do read a lot though and I am always trying to figure things out. Like, if stress can cause an MSer to have an exacerbation then perhaps stress is kind of a helper to get them to the point where they actually have MS.
I read a while ago that stress was absolutely ruled out as a cause of MS. I'm sorry but I don't believe it to be true for all MSer's. They lump so many people into the MS category with the huge range of symptoms that it makes it impossible to get anywhere with research. I don't believe MS is caused by one thing for all people and I think a lot of people would agree with me on this.
How many of you started out with fatigue as your first symptom? I'll bet it was a lot of you. How many of you didn't have fatigue as your first symptom? The reason I'm questioning is that I think MS has been around a long time for doctors and scientist to not have gotten further.
If I were to classify MS into categories other than RRMS, PPMS and the like, I'd start by seperating people into people with and without fatigue as their first symptom then I'd go down the list and put people into categories that covered only those who had the same symptoms. Not everybody has the same symptoms early on and I think that is wherein the key to unlocking the cause of this disease lies. Maybe I'm way off base but I don't think so. 
Ok, I'm done sounding off.
Thanks for listening.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 10/11/2006 5:50 AM (GMT -6)   

Interesting speculation!

You've answered your own question, of course:  Doctor's haven't been able to get farther with MS because there are so many variables to the disease, and how it affects individuals.  Diet, environment, heredity, virus, bacteria, stress -- all those things and more might .. might..have some bearing on the basic disease process,

which is: our immune system "mistakes" our own myelin for a "foreign invader", and goes about destroying it. 

I do think, though, that fatigue is pretty common among most of us, at least here, and on other MS forums I frequent.  Sometimes early on, the fatigue will appear, and the person won't relate it to MS, directly, as there aren't any of the other common signs or symptoms.

I think there are some symptoms that are common with people with MS..but as you noted, a lot that differ, depending on the person.  And then there is the matter of explaining symptoms -- one person's pain, for example, is "mere discomfort" for someone else -- in other words, a lot of the descriptors of symptoms are subjective, and can be misinterpreted.  But there are specific signs that the doctor does look for, both in his physical exam of the patient, and also when conducting the various tests. For example, while lesions can appear on the brain for all sorts of reasons, there are specific areas of the brain that -- if lesions appear there, it is more likely MS than some other cause.  Each of the tests for MS, while not specific to MS, do have specific indicators that the doctor looks for, while making his diagnosis.


...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....

Sandy C.
Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 129
   Posted 10/11/2006 6:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Fatigue was my first symptom to the best of my memory. Today fatigue is my primary, and most devistating symptom.

Right now I am too tired to be analytical, and I have an appointment with my PCP, I am going to ask him about Addison's Disease. I fit several of the of the symptoms realted to that disease and it is treatable! Meaning I may not be so tired if I have that and get on the right meds!

WAY off ur topic, but I wonder if the MS lesions can attack the pituitary gland and cause a secondary adrenal insufficency which is typically caused by damage or the removal of the pituitary gland... hmmmm
Sandy C.
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis September 2003 currently taking Copaxone SQ QD, Aricept 10 mg PO QD, Welbutrin XL 300mg PO QD, and Provigil 200mg PO BID.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2146
   Posted 10/11/2006 11:22 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey Penny

Wow! I'm glad u posted this. I'm not dx'd with ms or anything else that would answer my symptoms questions now, but of course i'm leaning towards ms or i wouldn't be here. I've wondered many, many times about the possible triggers and patterns for ms. My family is somewhat 'full' of auto immune and it makes u wonder! I sat in conversation with my daughters rheumatologist yesterday and answered the typical family history questions...and began to realize...by the look on her face and her knowledge of my own situation...that maybe i was on the right track. She indeed seemed at least to take note of the fact that there seemed to be some kind of trend here. Yes, my first and most prevailing symptom has been fatigue, tho now it's much under control. My daughter's doc told me yesterday that jr. ra CAN be triggered by things such as virus or the pnumonia she had recently. (tho she also said the test results that sent my daughter to her could also have just read temporarily bad and once the complete recovery is made it may read normal again) My OWN symptoms began (overtly anyway) after a surg that was pretty stressful. I never seemed to get over it. TRIGGER??? Maybe.

I'm not too sure about the catagorization method. I know many have different symptoms to begin with and maybe that can be indicative of they way they seem to progress early on, but ms is so erratic and off the board at times that it'd be hard to group and maintain any sort of clear pathway. And, as Uppity said, so many factors are there to be considered that it'd be hard to pin down any one thing as applied to a whole group. I'd love to see this studied tho!

I totally agree with u on the stress thing. Yes, i believe stress can/does play a role in ms presenting itself. Does it trigger ms?? I don't know, but if i did i guess i'd be receiving a medal right now instead of sitting here wondering! ;) I think it could, tho, because stress presents in so many ways. Virus causes stress on the body. Surg's cause stress on the body. Mental stress is a monster all it's own. An so on and so on... Thanks for bringing this up and i hope u get to go on and become a doctor because i'd love to see u working on this!


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