About Multiple Sclerosis
About the National MS Society
MS damages a fatty tissue called myelin, which helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses. When myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted. Most people with MS have a normal or near-normal life expectancy and do not become severely disabled.
There is a wide range of MS symptoms, including tingling, numbness, tremors, loss of vision, cognitive issues and beyond.
Studies indicate that genetic factors make certain individuals more susceptible than others, but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited. It's not contagious.
What is the course of the disease?
There are four clinical courses of disease:
- Relapsing-remitting: the initial course of 85% of cases. Includes unpredictable attacks followed by recovery periods with no new signs of disease activity.
- Secondary progressive: 50% of those with initial relapsing-remitting MS begin to experience decline between attacks without any definite periods of remission
- Primary progressive: describes the approximately 10% of individuals, often older at disease onset, who never have remission after their initial MS symptoms
- Progressive relapsing: describes the 5% of individuals who, from the onset of MS, have a steady neurologic decline but also suffer attacks; the least common of all subtypes
Who gets MS?
Up to four times as many women have MS as men. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. A small but growing number of diagnoses are being made among children and teens.
What treatments are available?
- The nine FDA-approved treatments are: Aubagio (teriflunomide); Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia and Rebif (beta interferons); Copaxone (glatiramer acetate); Gilenya (fingolimod); Tysabri (natalizumab); and Novantrone (mitoxantrone)
- Novantrone is only approved for people with secondary-progressive MS or those with rapidly worsening relapsing-remitting MS
- Gilenya and Aubagio are the only oral medications approved. All other current treatments require weekly or daily injections and have varying side effects
- There are no FDA-approved treatments for primary progressive MS
What costs are associated with a diagnosis?
Lifetime personal costs of a life with MS are well above $1 million for medications, home modifications and lost wages.
How did the Society begin?
The Society was founded in 1946 by Sylvia Lawry; the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter was founded by Thacher Longstreth in 1954.
Where is the Society involved?
There are 55 Society chapters covering every state. The Greater Delaware Valley Chapter is the second-largest in the country behind the Lone Star Chapter.
What's this chapter's mission?
We mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.
How are funds used?
The Society supports more MS research and offers more services for people with MS than any other nonprofit in the world.
What services do you offer?
Greater Delaware Valley Chapter services include:
- Air conditioners
- Care management
- Continuing education for professionals
- Workshops for clients and families
- Employment services
- Financial assistance (for home/vehicle modifications and people in crisis)
- Home care
- Information and Resource Center
- Lending library
- Medical equipment
- Personal care supplies
- Physical/occupational therapy programs
- Caregiver respite
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Health insurance advocacy
How can I get involved?
There are many ways you can get involved and help us with the fight against MS. We are always looking for volunteers in our office and out at events. You can also register to participate as a walker or cyclist at our events. You can become an advocate for people affected by the disease by contacting elected officials and urging them to vote the right way on important legislation. If the time isn't there, you can always make a donation.
How can I contact the chapter?
The Greater Delaware Valley Chapter office is located at 30 S. 17th Street, Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Call us at 215-271-1500.
Are you hiring?
If you'd like to work for this chapter, please take a look at our job postings.