This website will teach you about MS (Multiple Sclerosis).

Our story of MS starts here at the edge of the nervous system.

Click/Tap to begin...

About
Digesting Science

The aim of this website is to tell you about multiple sclerosis (MS) in a simple, fun way. The website and activities have been designed specifically for young people to watch, listen and get involved in.

Digesting Science is a website and set of activities to improve your knowledge and understanding of MS so we can all ask questions about what is happening inside the body of someone with the condition.

We know that science is filled with big words that are confusing, and sometimes even scary - so we have tried to break down MS into key pieces of information that you need to know.

The Digesting Science project also consists of an educational course for children with a parent with MS. Children can come and learn about the science behind the condition from researchers from the Neuroimmunology Group at Queen Mary, University of London.

Launched in February 2013, the course aims to empower and equip young people with the knowledge to deal with the issues of having a parent with MS. The course is open to children of patients of Barts Health NHS Trust and we are extending the course for patients of UCLP.

About
Us

  • Photos of our Digesting Science course.

  • Photos of our Digesting Science course.

  • Photos of our Digesting Science course.

  • Photos of our Digesting Science course.

  • Photos of our Digesting Science course.

  • The Blizard Institute building where we work in Whitechapel, London.

  • Meeting rooms Spikey (white) and the cloud (orange), hang above the labs.

  • Our labs on the ground floor of the Blizard building.

  • Our labs on the ground floor of the Blizard building.

  • Our labs on the ground floor of the Blizard building.

We are a group of scientists who research MS at Queen Mary University of London based at the Blizard Institute in Whitechapel, east London.

You can read more about our research on our other website - although it is not as nearly as fun as this one!

Project kindly funded by:

Contact
Us

If you would like to find out more information about the course then please send us an email.

If you are a young person with a parent with MS or a parent and have any ideas or comments on how we can improve the website or activities then please do not hesitate to contact us. The best way to do this is via email:

Get in Touch

Return to
Brain

What
is MS?

Symptoms of MS can come and go, or slowly build up over a long time.If the myelin is damaged alot then the nerve can become damaged, which can lead to persistent symptoms. Because there are different types of MS, these need different treatments.

Frequently
Asked
Questions

Will my Dad need a wheelchair?
Every person is different, according to their disease course. About 50 percent of people won’t need wheelchairs until much later in life.

Neuroscience
and Trauma Team

The team consists of mad scientists, doctors and nurses. They provide the best care possible and are trying to develop new and better treatments for people with MS across the World. They are also teachers who can spread knowledge to their working friends and students.

Got a question?

New
Words

A sudden appearance of MS

Area of the brain and spinal cord where the myelin is damaged.

Brain, spinal cord and eyes.

Return to
Brain

How does MS
affect your walking?

Nerve signals coordinate movement signals from the brain to the limbs. The nerves that travel to the leg are the longest in your body. So there is more to be damaged. The more damage that occurs, the more problems when walking. Someone might get tired really fast or be a bit wobbly.

Frequently
Asked
Questions

Will my Dad need a wheelchair?
Every person is different, according to their disease course. About 50 percent of people won’t need wheelchairs until much later in life.
Why do people with MS fall over?
Like we said, every person is different. Some people have problems with balance, lack of sensation or stiffness in their legs. These can all be a reason for falling over.

Mark
Baker

MS affects how nerves in the central nervous system work. My research is focused on how nerves work, and I've been involved in this for 30 years (apart from that I also teach medical students, so I keep busy!)

Got a question?

New
Words

This is an increased feeling of stiffness in your legs.

This can be caused due to lack of sensation or lack of coordination of movements.

Return to
Brain

How does MS
affect your bladder?

If the signal does not reach the bladder, you will be bursting for the loo, or can’t go! If the messages are delayed, it can make you go too much, or not enough.

Frequently
Asked
Questions

How will this affect my mum?
She may go to the loo often, have to run to the loo or not be able to go when she needs to.
Sometimes I have accidents, does that mean I have MS?
No, absolutely not. There are lots of reasons why someone can have accidents.

Annie
Davis

I am a junior doctor at The Royal London Hospital where I specialise in Neurology, or brains!

I have just started out on my career in research so I am learning all the time. I plan to research the role of different immune cells in the development of MS.

Got a question?

New
Words

When you need to run to the loo.

Where you store your wee until you want to go to the toilet.

When you wee when you don’t want to.

When you can not start weeing when you want to.

Return to
Brain

How does MS
affect your Vision?

Some people with MS get blurry vision or see two of everything! This is called a symptom and can come and go.

Frequently
Asked
Questions

How common is blurry vision in MS?
This happens to alot of people with MS. It can be the first symptom.
Will my Dad go blind?
No. This is a temporary symptom which can go away itself or can be helped with drugs from the Doctor.

Stephanie
Von Kutzleben

I am a PhD student working for David Baker. I am in my second year of MS research and have one degree in Biomedical Sciences.

At the moment, I am researching ways that we can control autoimmunity in Multiple Sclerosis.

Got a question?

New
Words

The nerve that goes from the eye to the brain.

This is where the light and images that we see are connected to electricity This electricity is the nerve signal.

Is the swelling of the optic nerve.

Return to
Brain

How can we
treat MS?

At the moment no one can make MS go away forever but treatments and medicine can make some of the bad bits better.

Frequently
Asked
Questions

Is there a cure for MS?
Not at the moment. But there is treatment to decrease the activity of the disease.
What are treatments?
There are drugs to stop or decrease the attacks of MS, there are also drugs to treat the symptoms of MS, like walking and bladder function.
How do people take treatments?
These treatments, these drugs are giving by Doctors. These can be injected, infused or taken as a pill. There are new ones on the way all the time.

Monica
Marta

I am a neurologist at The Royal London Hospital. This means that I am a doctor who looks after people with multiple sclerosis and other brain diseases.

I am interested in damage caused by inflammation in the brain and work in testing new drugs that improve people's chances of living a healthy life.

Got a question?

New
Words

A cell in your blood that protects you from infections. In MS they get confused and they attack myelin as if it was an infection.

A slow injection of a drug into your veins.

These sometimes happen after you take a drug.

Return to
Brain

Why do people
get MS?

No one knows exactly why you get MS, but Scientists all over the world are researching it all the time and we have some of the best in our group!

Frequently
Asked
Questions

What are the chances of me getting MS?
For the normal population the chance of getting MS is about 0.3 percent, so very very small.
How much sunlight do I need?
When your shadow is bigger than yourself (from November to April) the sun is not strong enough in Britain to help you produce vitamin D. In order to get enough Vitamin D, you can take supplements.
How much vitamin D should I take?
In July 2012, the European Food Safety Authority said that adults and children over 11 years old should take up to 4,000 IU or 100 micrograms per day. For children aged 1-10 years, 1,000 IU per day.

David
Baker

I have been studying MS for over 25 years and so have lots of degrees in ologies (even one in zoology!) In 2004 I became the Professor of Neuroimmunology (study of the brain and immune (infection fighting) systems) and run a team of 10 scientists!

My research is focussed on developing new drugs (before they go into people) that aims to treat different the cause and consequences of MS.

Got a question?

New
Words

Vitamin D influences how the immune system works.

This is the artificial way of increasing your intake of Vitamin D.

It is thought that alterations in your immune system are part of the cause of MS.

Your finger just sent a message to your brain telling it that it needs to move. This message is called a nerve signal. Nerve signals travel around your body through nerves.

Nerves are coated in myelin. In MS the myelin is damaged and this slows down the nerve signals. This affects the body in different ways.

MS is a disease of the central nervous system. (brain, spinal cord and eyes) that interferes with the brains ability to control your body. The central nervous system is made up of lots of nerves that have different functions. Each nerve is coated in myelin, damage to this myelins the cause of MS symptoms.

A lack of vitamin D is one reason of many why people get MS. We get most our vitamin D from the sun. It is made in our bodies in reaction to sunlight on our skin.

No longer than 15 mins in the sun without sunscreen

Nerve signals have to travel from the brain all the way to the foot. Nerves are covered by myelin. If the myelin is damaged the nerve signal will be slowed down or might not make it.

Images from the eye change into nerve signals. These then travel along the optic nerve to a special part of the brain which makes them into pictures, like a tv set.

The nerve signals travelling from the brain to and from the bladder may be slowed down if the myelin is damaged. The bladder is a muscle just like your leg or arm so your brain controls your bladder.

Myelin in the brain and the spinal cord is damaged by white blood cells. These enter the brain through blood vessels.