According to an article by Sheldon Gottlieb in Dr. John Zhang’s Hyperbaric Oxygen for Neurological Disorders, MS is the most common of the chronic demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. It is estimated that there are between 1.11 and 2.5 million cases of MS throughout the world. As of 2007, there is no known cure for MS and no agreed upon course of therapy. Standard therapy involves the use of immunosuppressant and immunomodulating drugs.
MS occurs most frequently in high latitude temperate zones: Western Europe, Canada, Russia, Israel, the Northern U.S., New Zealand and Southeast Australia. It is five times more likely to develop in these areas than in the tropics.
Most people first experience symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are more likely to develop MS compared to men. Caucasians are twice as likely to get the disease compared to other races. It is theorized that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. There are various stages of MS and differences and variations in symptoms lead some researchers to consider that MS may not be a single disease.
Gottlieb says that MS appears to be a blood-brain barrier disturbance, which includes inflammation followed by edema formation and lymphocytic infiltration and demyelination. This happens mostly in the white matter and some in the grey matter of the cerebrum, cerebellum, spinal cord and optical nerves. Demyelination is the agreed upon cause of the symptoms.
Sunlight, vitamin D and sex hormones may have a protective effect. As yet there is no confirmed virus or bacteria that causes the disease.
Most MS patients use complementary and alternative therapies in addition to conventional treatments because the conventional treatments don’t offer much improvement. The efficacy of HBOT, though theoretically relying on rational physiological premises is, strictly speaking, unproven. However, case histories remain promising in some cases. Other inconclusive results have been reported with long-term supplementation of Vitamin D. Because of the frequency of osteoporosis occurring with MS, supplementation with Vitamin D and calcium is medically accepted.94