Glossary beginning with M

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Magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) is a technique used by doctors and researchers in the diagnosis and monitoring of MS, because it can detect lesions (areas of myelin damage) in the brain and spinal cord of people with MS.

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Magnetic transfer imaging

Magnetic transfer imaging (MT) is a new form of MRI that has been used extensively in MS research. It is better at detecting damage to the brain than standard MRI.

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Marburg MS

This is an extremely rare and very aggressive form of MS which is associated with rapidly increasing disability. Only a few cases are seen and little is known about this condition, though research continues.

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McDonald Criteria

The McDonald criteria are the guidelines used by neurologists to diagnose MS.

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Mental Capacity Act

Mental capacity is the ability to make decisions for yourself. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 protects people who are unable to do this, and also provides a framework for people who need to make decisions on behalf of someone who 'lacks capacity'. This might be due to illness, injury, a learning disability, or mental health problems. The principles cover important decisions relating to property and financial affair, as well as health and social care, and further information and advice should be sought.

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Methotrexate

Methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug that inhibits the immune system. It has been shown to reduce relapse rates in people with relapsing remitting MS.

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Methylprednisolone

Methylprednisolone is a type of corticosteroid which is often used to treat MS relapses. It can reduce inflammation, shorten the length of the relapse and help speed up recovery, although it doesn't affect the outcome of the relapse.

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Minocycline

Minocycline is an oral antibiotic used to treat acne. It has also been shown to have some anti-inflammatory properties, and one phase 2 clinical trial reported promising results in MS. Further trials are currently underway.

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Mitoxantrone

The drug mitoxantrone (brand name Novantrone) is approved in the US for treating secondary progressive MS and worsening relapsing remitting MS. It is currently licensed in the UK as a cancer-fighting drug, but not for MS, although it can be prescribed on an individual 'named patient basis'.

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Molecule

A molecule is the smallest part of a substance that can possibly exist on its own and still have the properties of that substance. It is usually made of a group of atoms, for example a molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.

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Motability scheme

Motability is a scheme which helps disabled people to become more mobile. People who receive the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment may exchange all or part of their allowance in return for a car, powered wheelchair or scooter.

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MRI

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanners use strong magnetic fields to create an image of someone’s brain and spinal cord. If there are areas of inflammation or damage, or ‘lesions’, these show up on the scan.

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MS hug

A type of neuropathic pain caused by MS nerve damage in the brain or spinal cord. It feels like a tight band or constricting pain, usually around the trunk of the body.

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MS nurse

MS nurses are qualified nurses with specialist training in MS. They are a great source of information and advice, and they are the first point of contact for many people when they have concerns about their MS.

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Multidisciplinary teams

A multidisciplinary team (MDT) is a group of care professionals with different skills to help you manage your MS. For example, the team might include MS nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, pain specialists and psychologists. Because they are all part of one team, they can quickly and easily share information and refer you to their specialist colleagues when you need extra support.

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Musculoskeletal pain

‘Musculoskeletal pain’ is pain in muscles and joints. In MS, it is often the result of the stresses and strains the condition places on the body.

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Myelin

Myelin is made by cells in the central nervous system called oligodendrocytes. These cells wrap themselves around nerve axons very many times to form a protective myelin sheath. The myelin increases the speed at which nerve signals travel along axons and also protects nerve fibres from damage. In MS, myelin is vulnerable to attack from the immune system. Damage to myelin can cause the symptoms of MS.

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Myelination

Myelination is the process of producing myelin, the protective layer around nerves. Remyelination is the process of reforming myelin after it has been damaged by disease or injury.

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