MS, as in, Multiple Sclerosis (NOT muscular dystrophy)
The name multiple sclerosis refers to scars (scleroses—better known as plaques or lesions) particularly in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord, which is mainly composed of myelin. Although much is known about the mechanisms involved in the disease process, the cause remains unknown. Theories include genetics or infections. Different environmental risk factors have also been found.
It affects 2-150 in roughly 100,000 people, is more prevalent in whites than blacks, and women than men.MS takes several forms, with new symptoms occurring either in discrete attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may go away completely, but permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances.
The disease evolves and advances over decades, 30 being the mean years to death since onset. Female sex, relapsing-remitting subtype, optic neuritis or sensory symptoms at onset, few attacks in the initial years and especially early age at onset, are associated with a better course.
The life expectancy of people with MS is 5 to 10 years lower than that of unaffected people.Almost 40% of patients reach the seventh decade of life.Nevertheless, two-thirds of the deaths in people with MS are directly related to the consequences of the disease. Although most patients lose the ability to walk prior to death, 90% are still capable of independent walking at 10 years from onset, and 75% at 15 years
There are dozens of organizations that are involved in the fight to cure MS. I highly recommend adding one to your list of causes.
In particular, the MS150 is an annual bike ride to raise money. Whether you bike 30, 50, 75, or 100 miles, it is a great ride for a great cause. Fully supported (by the fine mechanics of REI), the Eastern NC MS Society website has all the information. http://bikenct.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?fr_id=16511&pg=entry
NOT A RACE, JUST A RIDE.
Information from wikipedia.com, nationalmssociety.org