Many people may not know or have heard of Demyelinating Disease because it is a disease that requires a diagnosis from a medical professional doctor only. Demyelinating Disease is a disease caused by inflammation of the sheaths of the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, optic nerve, etc. White blood cells secrete substances destroy the nerve sheath, causing damage to the nervous system, therefore diagnosis is very important. Let’s getting to know Demyelinating Disease so that we can prevent it and take care of ourselves in a timely manner.

Getting to know ‘MS”, a silent danger for working people

What is Demyelinating Disease?

Demyelinating Disease is a group of diseases that destroy myelin. There are characteristics known as lesions that are both small and large. Demyelin is a major component of the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. When myelin is destroyed, symptoms known as lesions are clearly visible in the central nervous system. These are the large brain, cerebellum, brainstem, and spinal cord. The lesions that are seen can be either small, diffuse lesions or may develop into large lesions.

Exact cause of diseases in the group of Demyelinating Disease, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD), and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis: ADEM's is unknown, but preliminary evidence suggests that the patient's immune system, especially T-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte lymphocytes, are responsive to external factors such as certain viral infections, hypothyroidism or vitamin D dose conditions, etc.

All of these causes inflamed tissues in the central nervous system, destroying myelin and nerve fibers to nerve cells. Although Demyelinating Disease is infrequent, it occurs repeatedly, leading to the majority of patients becoming disabling or even disabling. Of course, starting with proper diagnostic procedures and planning the right treatment for the patient can help to slow down the accumulation of lesions and reduce disability in the long term.

Commonly found Demyelinating Disease

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

This is most commonly found disease in a group of Demyelinating Disease. Symptoms of the disease are caused by the activation of T-lymphocytes in the body, causing the inflammatory process and bringing the Inflammatory Cell together and the secretion of Cytokine to destroy the sheath of myelin. It is mostly found the optic nerve, spinal cord, etc. Patients will have relapses and become normal alternately and then the symptoms repeat again. In the beginning, it may be healed, but over time, it will multiple sclerosis progress to an advanced stage until symptoms increase. It will cause the patient to the stage of disability in the end. Multiple Sclerosis or MS is more common among Caucasians who live in temperate regions aged 20-40 years and is more commonly found in females than males.

Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorders (NMOSD) or Devic's Disease

It is a disease that is found in Thai people more often than MS. It is classified as Autoimmune Disease. NMOSD is caused by an antibody produced by Aquaporin-4 (AQP4), which causes inflammation and damage to myelin, starting from abnormalities in the optic nerve and spinal cord at approximately the same time. Symptoms of NMOSD only occur once but it's fast and severe. NMOSD can recur. When it occurs, it can be mild to severe symptoms and cause the body to gradually accumulate disabilities according to the number of severe relapses of the disease.

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

The disease is characterized by inflammation and destruction of myelin spread throughout the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms usually occur after a viral infection or after having been vaccinated for a period of time.  It generally has an incubation period of 4 - 12 days. The symptoms of ADEM patients begin with fever, headache, and gradually deteriorate. Some may have stiff neck, stiff back, and limb numbness or weakness. Most ADEM patients may recover until they are back to normal or have some remaining disabilities, especially patients who have had measles or chickenpox before. The symptoms of patients with severe cerebral edema can be severe and even fatal. ADEM is more common in children than adults, and it affects both men and women equally.


Symptoms of most patients with Demyelinating Disease are acute, that is, symptoms will occur quickly. The slowest takes a day or may occur within a few hours. and the acute symptoms may gradually abate until they return to normal or almost as normal as before and then repeat again. Most of the patients with multiple sclerosis or MS will develop progressive symptoms, that is, the symptoms will gradually get worse continuously. It could happen in just a week, or it could take months.


Therefore, it is very important that patients receive the correct diagnosis and care from a medical professional doctor on a regular basis in order to prevent future exacerbations of Demyelinating Disease. If any abnormalities are found in the body, you should consult your doctor immediately in order to get the most effective treatment and reduce the severity of the disease.


Dr. Kanitta Suwansrinon

Specialty: Neurology

Neuro.Science Center of Excellence | Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai

Tel 052 089 888

Call Center: 1719