Are any of the following analogies useful to your thinking?

I) Multiple Sclerosis is like California wild fires: They arise suddenly, do terrible damage for a few days or weeks; but then go away eventually, even when not treated. Then after a long delay, of as much as ten years, they suddenly happen again.

II) Multiple Sclerosis is like influenza epidemics. A person suddenly gets a high fever and very bad symptoms that are often fatal. But if they don't die, they will recover almost completely, and remain well for 10 years or more, after which they may catch another strain of influenza.

III) Multiple Sclerosis is like earthquakes. Suddenly, buildings fall down and dams burst. But soon the shaking stops. After many years, often as many as ten years, another earthquake will occur, usually at a somewhat different location.

IV) Multiple Sclerosis is like hurricanes... etc. In what way?

V) Multiple sclerosis is like ... what? and why?

Maybe it could help to structure your thinking around one or more of the following questions.

* If you had to guess the normal function of the genes, that when mutated result in MS, what would you expect might be the normal functions of the proteins that those genes code for?

* Imagine that you had a powerful computer, in the memory of which you had the complete DNA sequences of ten people who suffered from MS, and also the DNA sequences of ten other people who had reached the age of 70 without getting MS, and supposing you were a really good computer programmer, how would you use the sequence information?


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