Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 08:28 UK
Living life with multiple sclerosis

How much do you know about the neurological condition multiple sclerosis? Try this quiz to see if you can distinguish between fact and fiction.


Multiple sclerosis is said to be the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults. About 85,000 UK citizens have it with 10,000 living in Scotland. Try this quiz to distinguish MS fact from MS fiction.

MRI image of the body

1.) True or False

Multiple sclerosis is fatal.

emergency room at hospital
  1. TRUE.
  2. FALSE.

2.) True or false

If you have MS you will eventually need a wheelchair.

person in a wheelchair
  1. TRUE.
  2. FALSE.

3.) Multiple Choice Question

What causes MS?

various suggested causes of the condition
  1. A bad diet and drinking too much.
  2. Scotland's bad weather and having measles as a child.
  3. Muscle spasms and not enough exercise.
  4. Too much exercise and not enough fat intake.

4.) Multiple Choice Question

Which of these places has one of the lowest rates of MS in the world?

Orkney beach, pic from Undiscovered Scotland
  1. Orkney, Scotland.
  2. Johannesburg, South Africa.
  3. Reykjavik, Iceland.
  4. Helsinki, Finland.

5.) Multiple Choice Question

Which of the following can halt the symptoms of MS?

bed rest, beach, pregnancy and bike riding
  1. Moving to a warmer climate.
  2. Becoming pregnant.
  3. Bed rest.
  4. Exercise.

6.) Multiple Choice Question

Which of these are symptoms of MS?

depressed person
  1. Mood swings.
  2. Depression.
  3. Paralysis.
  4. All of the above.

7.) Multiple Choice Question

Which part of the body is damaged as a result of MS?

the brain
  1. The fatty tissue surrounding the nerves in the brain.
  2. The skeleton.
  3. The skeletal muscles.

8.) True or false

It is obvious when someone has MS - you could easily spot them at work or in the street because the symptoms are easily recognised.

crowd of people
  1. TRUE
  2. FALSE

9.) True or false

MS is more common the further from the equator.

the earth from space
  1. TRUE.
  2. FALSE.

10.) True or false

If you're a woman you're more likely to develop MS.

woman and man
  1. FALSE.
  2. TRUE.


  1. The condition will not kill you.
  2. The effects of MS are very unpredictable. For some the disease will progress to the point where they need to use a wheelchair, but for most, this is not the case.
  3. MS could be triggered by your genes, but scientists believe you have to meet another event as well. This could be a childhood illness, or lack of vitamin D, but no-one knows for sure.
  4. Of the places listed, South Africa has the lowest rate of MS, at 3.5 people per 100,000. Orkney has the highest rate of MS, with an estimated rate of 309 per 100,000.
  5. A recent study in Canada discovered that pregnant women reported that their relapses disappeared during pregnancy, though returned after giving birth.
  6. These are all symptoms of MS, but as MS affects every individual differently, not everyone with MS will have these symptoms.
  7. In MS myelin, the fatty tissue covering the nerves, becomes frayed. This causes inflammation of the nerves and leaves lesions. The damage means that nerve impulses from the brain to the body are slowed and the messages become confused.
  8. Many people with MS don't reveal they have the disease to many of their friends or colleagues. The outward signs of MS may be subtle.
  9. MS is more prevalent on regions north of 40 degrees latitude. It's relatively common in Britain, North America, Canada and Scandanavia and almost unheard of in places like Malaysia or Equador. But conversely, MS is almost unknown among Inuit in the Arctic or Yakuts in Siberia.
  10. Three women have MS to every two men. The disease is most frequently diagnosed in pre-menopausal women, but when it's detected later in life, equal numbers of men and women are affected.

Your Score

0 - 1 : You've too easily accepted the myths of MS.

2 - 5 : Read more on the topic, and try the quiz again.

6 - 10 : Well done, you recognise the facts of MS.

There is more about multiple sclerosis and the apparent Scottish link in Elizabeth Quigley's television investigation "Scotland's Hidden Epidemic: The truth about MS", which will be broadcast on BBC One Scotland at 2245 BST on Wednesday.

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