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Multiple sclerosis and disability: seeking ways to slow the disease

Multiple sclerosis is a serious autoimmune disease that affects between 250,000 and 350,000 in the U.S. It is among the conditions that can potentially be so disabling that someone becomes eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

The disease damages nerve connections between the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary widely and include weakness in the limbs, fatigue and vision problems. Often the disease starts with milder symptoms, but progressively becomes worse. At its most severe, MS can result in paralysis.

MS affects women more often than men. Patients of both genders, however, are naturally concerned about monitoring their disease - especially when the likelihood that it will worsen is strong. And because MS is a progressive disease, there is virtually always that likelihood. Like many other chronic conditions, it rarely gets better but often gets worse.

According to a new study in the journal Neurology, there is a way to help predict how a patient's multiple sclerosis may progress. The study examined the association between thinning of the retinas and active MS. Retinal thinning can be detected through eye scans, and that is what was done in the Neurology study.

Doctors hope to develop more effective therapies to slow down the progression of MS. Retinal testing could help them measure how well such therapies are functioning.

Even when progression of the disease is slowed down, however, it could still be disabling. It therefore makes sense for someone who is unable to work due to MS symptoms to explore eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

Source:"Eye Scans Can Help Track Progress of Multiple Sclerosis," Medical Daily, Amber Moore, 12-26-12

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on Social Security disability benefits.

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