Rev Neurol 2002 Feb 16;34(4):379-84
Moreira MA, Tilbery CP, Lana Peixoto MA, Mendes MF, Kaimen Maciel DR, Callegaro D.
Disciplina de Neurolog a; Santa Casa, S o Paulo SP, Brasil.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) in young adults. MS is the most common disorder of the central nervous system in young people living in temperate climate regions. Although a few references to possible cases of the disease come from the xiii century, its scientific observation and systematic study only started in the late xix century.
Robert Carswell e Jean Cruveilhier were the first investigators to document the pathological lesions while the clinical picture was first studied by Charcot. In spite of a huge number of infectious agents has been proposed for the etiology of MS and a genetic susceptibility trait recently defined, the ultimate cause of the disease remains to be determined. The development of diagnostic criteria sets, clinical disability scales and image methods in the latter half of the last century has provided investigators with useful research tools allowing unprecedented advances. In the last 30 years ACTH and corticosteroids have been employed as treatment for MS relapses. Starting in 1993 a new class of drugs called disease modifying agents, such as interferon beta and more recently glatiramer acetate, was introduced with encouraging results.
MS is postulated to be a cell mediated autoimmune disease directed against CNS myelin components and characterized by inflammation and chronic demyelination. This paper is a review of the principal most significant events in the search for knowledge of the disease in the world.