About Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD)
Once thought to be a type of multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is a distinct but rare autoimmune disease.
NMOSD is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized mainly by attacks of swelling and damage in the optic nerve (optic neuritis) and spinal cord.
Are There Therapies For NMOSD?According to the Guthy Jackson Foundation, there are no NMOSD-specific therapies, at this time. Drugs used to treat NMOSD are approved to treat conditions other than NMOSD but may be recommended by a neurologist or NMOSD specialist.
Acute NMOSD relapses or attacks are often treated with Corticosteroids (steroid treatment) or Plasmapheresis (the removal of antibodies from the blood stream).
The symptoms of NMOSD can vary from person to person in disability, duration and severity.
Generally, NMOSD symptoms begin rapidly.
After the initial attack, NMOSD follows an unpredictable course, and time to remission and relapse can vary.
Recurring episodes of optic neuritis can be weeks to months in duration, and in some very unusual cases can last years.
Symptoms can be temporary and resolve fully or partially in some patients. However, recurring relapses can lead to an accumulation of disability over time.
NMOSD is most commonly characterized by;
Rapid onset of eye pain or loss of vision (optic neuritis).
Limb weakness, numbness, or partial paralysis.
- Shooting pain or tingling in the neck, back, or abdomen.
- Loss of bowel and bladder control.
- Prolonged nausea, vomiting, or hiccups.
What Causes NMOSD?
At present, the specific cause(s) of NMOSD are unknown. However, most experts believe that NMOSD results from a dysfunction in immune tolerance, which is the immune system’s ability to distinguish one’s own cells or proteins from potentially foreign materials. It is believed that autoreactive T and B cells, autoantibody, complement and leukocytes play a role in NMOSD. Importantly, antibodies against aquaporin-4 (Aq4ab) within the central nervous system are highly specific for NMOSD. https://guthyjacksonfoundation.org/nmo-faqs/
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