World Multiple Sclerosis Day, falling on May 30, invites dialogue on the disease. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive disease where the insulating covers of the nervous system are damaged. MS is also known as encephalomyelitis disseminata, and its symptoms include muscle weakness, double vision, and mental/physical problems. Due to the lack of research studies on the disease, the exact causes behind it are generally unknown. Many scientists believe that there might be a connection between the onset of the disease and genes and/or nerve-cell dysfunction. Furthermore, there is no permanent cure as of yet. The symptoms can be relieved using the right set of treatments and medication.
History of World Multiple Sclerosis Day
The first World Multiple Sclerosis Day was celebrated in 2009 by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF). MSIF was officially established in 1967 as an international body that coordinated with national MS organizations belonging to many countries like Turkey, Slovakia, India, and the U.S.
The federation aims to bring light to MS and the scientific research related to it. The theme for this year’s World Multiple Sclerosis Day is ‘Connect.’ This theme, which continues from 2020 through 2022, focuses on bringing the world together by forming a connection with each other as well as the self for the sake of better care. MSIF spends the whole month of May and early June spreading awareness and hope about MS through their themed campaigns.
Around 2.8 million people suffer from MS each year. This disease relates to damaged myelin sheaths that cover the nervous system in the spinal cord and brain. The damaged myelin sheaths become covered in lesions or plaques, and this is where the disease gets its name — ‘multiple sclerosis’ means ‘multiple scars.’ MS’s exact causes remain unknown, but some scientists attribute genetics, infectious agents, and cell dysfunction to the disease’s causes. Symptoms include muscle spasms, speech and swallowing problems, coordination and balance issues, depression, mood swings, and so forth. While there’s no permanent cure for MS, ongoing research relates to treating the symptoms with drugs and neuroprotection strategies.
World Multiple Sclerosis Day timeline
Scientists identify two separate MS cases from the 13th and 14th centuries, determining that the ‘Viking gene’ may be a factor behind MS diagnosis.
The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation is established to bring together the world MS organizations in order to raise awareness about the disease.
MS is found to be the most common autoimmune central nervous system disorder, with more than 2.5 million people affected worldwide.
It is confirmed that no one set test can accurately detect MS in people as they would have to go through multiple tests for the doctors to even determine the disease.
World Multiple Sclerosis Day FAQs
What day is MS Day?
World Multiple Sclerosis Day falls on May 30 every year. In fact, the whole of May as well as a part of June is dedicated to spreading information about MS through public campaigns and charity runs.
What month is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month?
Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month takes place in March. MS organizations and advocacy groups hold special educational events and awareness campaigns to educate people about the disease.
Is there a symbol for MS?
Yes, it is represented by an orange awareness ribbon.
How To Observe World Multiple Sclerosis Day
Support MS survivors
Show solidarity by providing support to MS survivors. Talk to them and treat them just like a normal person. Many studies show that special treatment can be detrimental for patients, including MS patients, as it can take a toll on their self-esteem and mental health.
Participate in MS organizations’ activities
Whether it is a walk, a seminar, a dinner, or any other charity funding event, participate in the activities to further show your support. You will also get to learn more about MS and its related factors.
One of MSIF’s main goals is to get the world talking about MS. You can do this, too, by spreading awareness about the disease in your social circle. You can use hashtags related to MS on social media and start conversations about the disease, donations, treatments, and research.
5 Facts About The Nervous System That Will Blow Your Mind
Two parts of the nervous system
The nervous system is divided into two parts — one is the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the other is the peripheral nervous system (the rest of the nerves in the body).
Fast neuron cell transmission
The alpha motor neurons, located in the spinal cord, transmit signals at a whopping rate of 268 miles/hour.
Neuron cells can often not be repaired or replaced and this is why any damage can be permanent.
More cells than stars in the Milky Way
There are more nerve cells in our brains than there are stars in the Milky Way.
The longest nerve is the sciatic nerve
The longest nerve in the human body is the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spinal cord all the way to the tips of our toes on each foot.
Why We Love World Multiple Sclerosis Day
It’s a celebration of support
Humans are social animals who need the support of each other to see them through the highs and lows of life. Without us understanding each other’s hardships, it can become extremely difficult to continue. Thus, lending words of encouragement and positive affirmation to each other can do wonders.
It’s a celebration of hope
Today’s medical advancements in all medical fields have led to a significant decrease in mortality rates. Several studies related to MS are ongoing, even now as you read this article. So, hang in there because there’s always hope for a better tomorrow.
It’s a celebration of empathy
The MSIF’s thematic tagline ‘I Connect, We Connect’ calls for a deep understanding of another person’s pain. It also invites dialogue to discuss solutions and better treatment and care for MS survivors.
World Multiple Sclerosis Day dates