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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. Once thought of as a uniformly disabling condition, MS is now a very treatable disease. Our team has had tremendous success at keeping patients in remission and preventing many symptoms.
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 as well as patients from across the country. We are routinely involved in helping patients, families, and practitioners make an accurate diagnosis, exclude potential mimics of multiple sclerosis, and devise an effective treatment strategy.
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, optic nerve, and spinal cord. Scar tissue (or sclerosis), builds up within the central nervous system, disrupting nerve function across many systems in the body.
UT Southwestern’s Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Clinic 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 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 spectrum disorder (NMOSD), transverse myelitis, and autoimmune encephalitis.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Symptoms of MS can vary widely from patient to patient, and they often fluctuate over time. They can include:
- Balance disorders
- Bladder or bowel problems
- Changes in gait
- Cognitive changes
- Depression or other emotional changes
- Difficulties with muscle coordination or walking
- Loss of vision or double vision
- Numbness or tingling
- Sexual dysfunction
- Slurred speech
Because the symptoms are so varied from person to person, many people might not recognize the early signs of MS. Also, because these symptoms can be caused by a variety of conditions, patients can have MS raised as a diagnostic possibility when other explanations exist.
Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis
There is no single test that can diagnose MS. We 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 and a neurologic exam. We might also perform tests, such as:
- Blood tests
- Evoked potentials (EP)
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Spinal fluid analysis
Treating 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
- Advanced practice providers (physician assistants and nurse practitioners)
- Neuropsychologists and psychiatrists
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
- Rehabilitation specialists
- Social workers
- Vertigo and eye movement specialists
- Registered dietitians
The goal of treatment for each patient is to find the best disease-modifying therapy (DMT) that will prevent future relapses, new MRI lesions, and disability progression. We also empower patients by treating symptoms of MS with medications, nutrition, exercises, and assistive devices.
Personalized treatment plans help patients sustain and improve functionality over the course of their illness, enabling them to participate in more activities and providing 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.
Multiple Sclerosis Cognitive Support Group
We offer a four-week group providing educational support and strategies for cognitive difficulties associated with multiple sclerosis. Topics include memory and attention, executive function, emotional health and stress management, quality of life, and brain health. Sessions are held the first through fourth Fridays of the month, excluding December.
Referral is required prior to attendance. If you are interested in attending the group, or would like more information, please contact Jennifer Trevino at 214-648-4646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Richardson, Texas 75080 972-669-7000