12:00 - 21 February 2003
Multiple sclerosis affects mainly women in the 20 to 40 age group.
A smaller number of men suffer from it, and many elderly people are also diagnosed with it. There are around 250 new cases a year.
Symptoms are diverse and differ from person to person.
Common early symptoms include tingling, numbness or peculiar feelings in the arms, legs, trunk or face.
Some people lose their dexterity and develop problems with their eyesight.
It is thought that an hereditary factor could play a role - around five per cent of sufferers have a brother or sister who is also affected.
Multiple sclerosis is incurable and the only hope sufferers have is
to take drugs which delay the onset of the progressive symptoms.
© Copyright 2003, Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd