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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mind, matter and multiple sclerosis

Confusion, agitation, panic can flood a person attempting a simple task
By Chase Olivarius-McAllister
Herald Staff Writer

Have you seen my keys?

This bedeviling question will strike many healthy, college-educated, home-owning adults as altogether too familiar – especially when you’re late for work.

But to some people with multiple sclerosis, that question may hold a more painful resonance.

No one knows why some people develop MS or what causes it.

MS involves an abnormal response of the body’s immune system, whereby the immune systems turns against the body’s central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Within the central nervous system, damaged myelin tissues become scar tissues, or sclerosis, which lends the disease its name.

While many healthy adults struggle to keep track of belongings, this realm of cognitive functioning can be particularly hard for people with multiple sclerosis. People tend to be diagnosed between 20 and 40 years old.

LuAnn Pierce, a licensed clinical social worker, traveled from Denver last week to give a presentation to two dozen Durangoans about coping strategies for those suffering from MS and for the people who care for them.

The presentation was called “Have You Seen My Keys?”

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