Articles

Coping with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

How do people adjust to multiple sclerosis (MS)? Your emotional reactions and the reactions of your family members will ebb and flow with changes in the illness. Each attack and each new symptom or change in function will require that you readjust all over again. This may be a tiring process. The goal of emotional adjustment is not only to promote total acceptance but also to adapt to the presence of MS in daily living. This requires making room for the disease without giving it more space, more...

Parenting with Multiple Sclerosis

The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) should not necessarily interrupt one’s wishes or plans for parenthood. Multiple sclerosis may alter, but should not affect, the desire to experience the joys of parenting and the ability to provide children with the love and security they need. The best way to prepare for the years ahead with MS is to provide yourself with education and information about the disease, along with the developmental needs of your children. The ultimate goal is for parents...

Intimacy and Multiple Sclerosis

Physicians and health care providers involved in the management of multiple sclerosis (MS) have tended to focus on its causes, symptoms, and treatment. They have not focused so much on symptom relief, and even less on issues of intimacy, which include but are not limited to the genital sexual response. It is critical that everyone with MS consider himself as a “whole” person, with normal needs and desires for intimate relationships, and that these issues be adequately addressed by the health...

Respiratory Care after a Spinal Cord Injury

You may experience changes to your respiratory system following spinal cord injury (SCI). This section will help you understand how SCI may affect your respiratory system, including ways to prevent problems, deep breathing and coughing techniques, and information about infections. The respiratory system includes your nose, mouth, windpipe (trachea) and lungs. When you breathe, air that contains oxygen passes into your lungs, where it enters your blood, and waste products, including carbon...

Q&A on Alternative and Complementary Therapies for Parkinson's Disease

Q: Instead of taking synthetic dopamine (Sinemet), can I just chew Mucuna pruriens a few times a day? A: Mucuna pruriens is the seed powder of a leguminous plant. Leguminous plants belong to the family including peas, beans, clover, alfalfa, and other plants. Mucuna was used in ancient Indian medicine as a treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD) symptoms. There was a recent article in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry that demonstrated...

Nutrition Following Spinal Cord Injury

What you eat (nutrition) contributes to your physical and mental health and helps your body fight infection and disease. Getting the right nutrients in adequate amounts can help you maintain good health. Good nutrition is important following a spinal cord injury (SCI). This includes identifying factors that may contribute to poor nutrition, as well as understanding the best sources for nutrients and goals of nutritional management. Poor Nutrition Poor nutrition means...

Using Umami Compounds in Food Preparation

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, which also include sweet, sour, bitter, and salt. Umami, a Japanese word, is roughly translated as “tasty” but has also more descriptively been translated as savory, meaty, or brothy. It enhances the savory flavor of food, increases palatability, and contributes to the sense of satisfaction and fullness after eating. Studies have also shown that umami increases salivary flow, which ensures that food particles are broken down in the mouth to release aromas....

Personalized Food Enhancement Plans for Smell and Taste Disorders

If you have a smell and taste disorder you are likely to fit into one of the three following categories. These categories are based on symptoms and test results. For each of these three categories, particular strategies can be employed to maximize your enjoyment of food and drink. Partial Smell Loss with Normal Basic Taste (Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty, and Umami) and Normal Trigeminal Function (Texture, Temperature, and Spice) Individuals in this category are able...

Are Multiple Sclerosis Self-Help Groups for You?

As people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), many of our struggles are our own and our situations are unique, however, there are many people living with MS out there, experiencing similar fears, challenges, and successes. We watch for new research and treatment developments. We weather disappointments around failed trials or adverse events at the same time. Connecting with others with MS can open up new sources of inspiration and understanding. We can learn from the trials of others, changing...

The Smell and Taste Systems

How We Smell What is the organ that senses smell? You probably answered “the nose,” as most people would. But in fact, the organ that senses smell lies within the nose—up in the highest part of the nose, to be precise—within the mucous membrane, the moist outer layer of the lining inside the nose, which is the first structure to come into contact with the air and odor molecules we breathe. The smell organ is made up of the olfactory cells, which are actually nerve...