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Home arrow Environment arrow Inflammatory Disorders of the Nervous System: Pathogenesis, Immunology, and Clinical Management
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History

Charcot first described MS as a unique disorder in the mid nineteenth century in Paris. He attributed the original recognition of this disorder to Cruveillier, the famed professor of anatomy. Others also described the pathological anatomy of the disease in remarkable detail, but it was Charcot who characterized the clinical illness and correlated the illness with its unique neuropathology [1]. From the first descriptions of the illness, it was recognized that MS differed clinically from one patient to another, with the majority of patients experiencing a relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) [1, 2]. Charcot recognized the illness in a minority of patients was fundamentally different and described them as having an “incomplete” form of illness [1, 2]. From their first symptoms, these patients manifest signs of a progressive spinal cord disease without relapses. They are now designated as having primary progressive (PPMS) [2].

The first person documented to clearly have suffered from MS was a grandson of King George III of England, Sir August D’Este [3]. The course of his illness recorded in his diary was edited and published by Douglas Firth in 1947. While MS is an illness that is more common in the higher socioeconomic strata of society, it is not limited to the well to do by any means [2, 4, 5]. The disease does, however, occur predominantly in persons of European descent [2, 4, 5]. African-Americans have MS diagnosed at approximately half the rate of Caucasians in the United States [4, 5].

 
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