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Glossary of Terms

This table summarises common words people with multiple sclerosis and health professionals use when making treatment decisions.

Term Description
Active Multiple Sclerosis (MS) The MS stage where people had at least one relapse and/or brain scar in the last 12-24 months.
Attack See relapse.
Brain Lesions or Scar Area of damage or scarring (sclerosis) in the brain and central nervous system caused by MS.
Brain Scan Pictures of the brain using magnetic fields. See MRI.
Cell The smallest part of the body that works on its own. There are millions of different types of cells in everyone’s body.
Disease Modifying Treatment (DMT) Medications that change how the cells work in the body to slow down MS activity. People with RRMS taking DMTs have fewer relapses than those not taking DMTs.
Flare Temporary worsening of symptoms that means a person gets new symptoms or a worsening of old symptoms.
Highly Active Multiple Sclerosis (MS) The MS stage where people have new relapses and/or brain scars in the last 12 months.
Health and Wellbeing Options Lifestyle and treatment options people with MS choose to keep themselves well. For example to manage stress, eat well, exercise, etc.
Immune Modulation Options Treatments changing the white cell strength in the immune system (lymphocytes); they are less able to damage nerves.
Immune Reconstruction Options Treatments changing the types and strength of white cells (lymphocytes); there are fewer cells and they are less likely to damage the immune system.
Immune Blocking Options Treatments stopping immune cells getting into the blood stream or brain; fewer cells to damage the nerves.
Immune System A complex system of cells, substances and tissues protecting people’s bodies from infections.
Immune System Cells The different types of cells and proteins in the body that recognise and/or react against infections.
Infusion Treatment injected into a vein through drip equipment.
Lymph Nodes Small, round structures used by the body to filter fluids, waste, and germs in the body. They contain immune cells to fight infections.
Lymphocytes A white blood cell found in the system of lymph nodes (lymphatic) which defend the body against bacteria and viruses
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Pictures of the brain using magnetic fields and radio waves, a brain scan.
Myelin Sheath A protective sheath around people’s nerves and cells.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Life-long condition caused by a person’s immune system attacking their central nervous system and brain, nerve cells and myelin sheaths.
Multiple Sclerosis Team Health professionals including neurologists, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others who deliver care to people with MS.
Nerves A group of fibres carrying signals between the brain and other parts of the body.
Neurologist A type of doctor who treat people with nerve damage.
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) A type of MS where the first symptoms get worse over time without going away (primary and progressive).
Rapid Evolving Multiple Sclerosis (MS) A type of MS where people have at least two severe relapses and new brain scars in the last 12 months.
Relapse People with RRMS who get an immune system attack of worsening symptoms or symptom episode, known as a relapse.
Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) A type of MS. Relapsing and remitting means the symptoms people get come and go over time.
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) A type of MS. Progressive means symptoms are less likely to go away and people are more likely to get a long-term disability.
Spinal Cord A column of nerve tissue going from the brain down the spine carrying signals to and from the brain to all parts of the body. The spinal cord controls some body functions independently of the brain.
Stable Multiple Sclerosis (MS) The MS stage where the person has no new relapses in the last 12 months.
Steroid Medication or Corticosteroids Medication used to treat MS relapse. They speed up recovery but do not stop a relapse from happening or the MS getting worse over time.
Symptom And Relapse Treatments Treatments to cope with MS symptoms, episodes and relapses.
Wash Out Period The time taken from when a person stops taking a treatment to when the body is free of its chemicals.