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Multiple Sclerosis: Definition and Causes (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:00 Hi. Welcome to our video series on neurological disorders.

    00:05 In this video, we'll take a look at multiple sclerosis.

    00:09 Now, MS is a disease where the patient's own immune system attacks the myelin sheath, or the cells that produce and maintain the myelin sheath.

    00:17 So, one easy way for you to remember that is MS stands for multiple sclerosis and myelin sheath.

    00:25 Multiple Sclerosis leads to scarring.

    00:29 So, the inflammation that the patient experiences in their immune system is attacking them.

    00:33 They end up with inflammation and injury to that sheath and the nerve fibers.

    00:38 Well, when this sheath and the nerve fibers are damaged, you end up with multiple areas of scarring and impaired nerve impulse transmission.

    00:47 In order for those nerve impulses to move smoothly, you have to have intact areas.

    00:53 So because of the inflammation and the scarring that comes from multiple sclerosis, now we have problems with those nerves being able to be transmitted.

    01:02 Now looking at the myelin sheath, what really is that? Well, in the central nervous system, the myelin sheath is this protein.

    01:12 It's this protein and fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers.

    01:17 Now, they're very important.

    01:20 It's what help keeps the system running smoothly.

    01:23 So, in your central nervous system, that myelin sheath is represented in our graphic with that kind of blue-green color.

    01:30 You see those little...

    01:31 They almost look like pulled noodles wrapped around that, but think of that as the myelin sheath.

    01:37 Now, the myelin is what helps the transmission of the nerve impulses along the axon.

    01:41 We need that impulse to move along the axon, so the messages can be spread from one to another.

    01:48 So, you have myelin in the PNAS or the CNS? The answer is myelin is present in both: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

    01:59 Okay. Well, in the CNS, myelin is produced by these cells.

    02:02 Now, they're called oligodendrocytes.

    02:05 That's a pretty big name.

    02:06 But if you look in the drawing there, you see those cells in the middle.

    02:09 We've got them marked for you.

    02:11 Those are the cells in the central nervous system that produce the myelin.

    02:16 Now, over to the peripheral nervous system or the PNS, myelin is produced by the Schwann cells.

    02:22 You can see it looks a little different, but they both really help the transmission.

    02:27 Now, PNS and CNS myelin are chemically different, but they have the same function.

    02:32 They promote the efficiency of nerve impulse transmission along the axon of the nerve cell.

    02:37 So, multiple sclerosis only affects the myelin in the central nervous system.

    02:44 So, it's present in both.

    02:46 They do kind of the same thing, but multiple sclerosis definitely goes after the myelin in the central nervous system.

    02:53 Now, what happens when you have these damages from MS? Well, we know that it damages and destroys the myelin and the oligodendrocytes.

    03:02 So, not only the sheath itself, it also goes after the cells that produce that sheath.

    03:07 So, we have damage to the underlying nerve fibers.

    03:10 Now, when those fibers are damaged with lesions and scars along the nerve, you can actually see those on an MRI.

    03:18 So it's one of the exams that a patient may have to kind of look at where the status is of their multiple sclerosis or even in diagnosis.

    03:26 So, because you have this damaged area and these lesions along the line, it's going to slow or really even stop the nerve conduction in certain areas.

    03:35 So now you have these neurological signs and symptoms that come from MS.

    03:40 So, we're talking about multiple sclerosis.

    03:42 We've got problems with nerve transmission.

    03:44 It's only in the central nervous system.

    03:47 And because of this problem with nerve transmission, that's where the neurologic signs that we see with MS come from.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Multiple Sclerosis: Definition and Causes (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Chronic Neurological Disorders (Nursing). It contains the following chapters:

    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Myelin Sheath

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The myelin sheath
    2. The axon
    3. The dendrites
    4. The nucleus
    1. It insulates the axon to promote efficient nerve impulses.
    2. It helps impulse initiation by lowering the threshold.
    3. It protects the neuron from physical or pathological damage.
    4. It surrounds the dendrites to receive impulses from other neurons.

    Author of lecture Multiple Sclerosis: Definition and Causes (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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