How long has multiple sclerosis existed?

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that has long gone unrecognized. It was discovered only 150 years ago, but has it been around longer than that?

Setti Dali

Written on 30/05/2022

How long has multiple sclerosis existed? —
Minute Doctor

Multiple sclerosis, MS, leaves no visible traces on the skeleton and therefore no clues for anthropologists.

The first case of multiple sclerosis

The oldest description of the disease dates back to the 13th century. It is about a Viking woman, who complained of intermittent speech and gait disturbances. It was enough to spread a hypothesis, multiple sclerosis would be Scandinavian and would have been disseminated by the Vikings throughout Europe!

This theory has never been validated. Then in 1421, another case arose. Ludwine de Schiedam, a Dutch nun suffers from paralysis in her arm which will spread throughout her body over the years.
Doctors of the time admitted to being incompetent and saw in it the hand of God.

Charcot at the origin of the discovery of MS

It will be necessary to wait until the end of the 19th century to finally put a name on this disease.
On March 14, 1868, precisely, Jean-Martin Charcot, a neurologist at La Salpêtrière, used the term multiple sclerosis for the first time in his work.

It is by observing on sections of brain small gray spots and irregular shapes, that he will propose this name of multiple sclerosis. Since then, his work has become a world reference.

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