Multiple Sclerosis

  • Dalal Alali
  • Sarah El-Wahsh
  • Hans BogaardtEmail author


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative autoimmune neurological disease in which inflammation and demyelination occur in the white matter of the central nervous system (CNS). The pathophysiology of MS is a complex process in which the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheaths surrounding nerve fibers, resulting in impaired transmission of neural signals in the CNS. MS affects around 30 per 100.000 people. Multiple sclerosis affects more females than males (with a ratio of 3:1).

There are four main types of MS described: relapsing remitting, primary progressive, secondary progressive, and progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis. All subtypes exhibit a different progression over time. Although the symptoms of MS vary widely from one person to another, MS is mainly characterized by loss of muscle strength in various muscle groups in the body. Clinically, MS is primarily characterized by fatigue, lack of energy, and exhaustion.

Incidence of swallowing, voice problems, and communication problems in MS is high. Up to 38% of people with MS report frequent coughing and choking. Around 43% of people with MS report problems with controlling their voice, and over 30% report problems with their speech. Language and cognitive impairment are also associated with MS, with over 60% reporting productive language problems and 36% reporting receptive language problems. Speech, voice, language, and swallowing problems are associated with reduced quality of life and depression in persons with MS.


Multiple sclerosis Swallowing disorders Voice disorders Speech disorders Language impairment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health SciencesThe University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia
  2. 2.The University of SydneyFaculty of Health SciencesLidcombeAustralia

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