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Multiple Sclerosis

Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute

At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our specialists craft individualized strategies that bring people with multiple sclerosis (MS) improved function and greater control of their illness.

The Multiple Sclerosis Program at UT Southwestern is recognized as a world leader in the research and treatment of MS. We work in conjunction with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to provide comprehensive care to patients with MS, serving the entire North Texas region.

Personalized Care, Maximized Independence

MS is a central nervous system disorder that affects more than 800,000 people in the U.S. It is the most common disabling disease in young adults, usually striking between the ages of 18 and 45 and occurring three times as frequently in women as in men.  

MS is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves in the brain, eye, and spinal cord. Scar tissue, or sclerosis, builds up on the myelin, disrupting nerve function across many systems in the body.

UT Southwestern’s Clinical Center for Multiple Sclerosis addresses the wide range of symptoms that can make MS difficult to treat. Patients have access to specialists in virtually every discipline related to the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Our team of physicians and other specialists provides each patient an individualized treatment plan to decrease the frequency of MS attacks and impede the onset of permanent disability.

We also treat other autoimmune diseases, such as neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and transverse myelitis.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Symptoms of MS can vary widely from patient to patient, and they often fluctuate over time. They might include:

  • Balance disorders
  • Bladder or bowel problems
  • Changes in gait
  • Cognitive changes
  • Depression or other emotional changes
  • Difficulties with muscle coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Sexual problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Spasticity
  • Tremors
  • Vision problems
  • Weakness

Because the symptoms are so varied from person to person, many people might not recognize the early signs of MS.


There is no single test that can diagnose MS. Physicians must collect information from a variety of tests and imaging studies to find evidence of damage in at least two separate areas of the central nervous system that has occurred at two different times and then rule out other illnesses.  

Physicians at the UT Southwestern Clinical Center for Multiple Sclerosis are experts in diagnosing MS and will conduct a careful medical history, a neurologic exam, and various tests, such as:

Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

UT Southwestern specialists provide individualized, multidisciplinary treatment plans to maximize each person’s abilities and minimize disabilities. A patient’s care team might include:

  • Clinical nurses
  • Neurologists
  • Neuro-ophthalmologists
  • Neuropsychologists and psychiatrists
  • Neuroradiologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Social workers
  • Vertigo and eye movement specialists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Urologists

The goal of treatment is to find the best disease-modifying drug for each patient that will prevent future relapses, new MRI lesions, and disability progression. In addition to finding the best medicine for each individual, we also empower patients by treating symptoms of MS with medications, exercises, and assistive devices. 

Personalized treatment plans help patients sustain and improve functionality over the course of their illness, enable them to participate in more activities, and provide hope for their futures.

Over the years, our success rate at putting patients into long-term remission has grown dramatically.


The Clinical Center for Multiple Sclerosis works closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to help people with MS and their families stay educated about new treatments and new research.

Related Conditions and Treatments

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