What is Devic’s disease (neuromyelitis optica)
Devic’s disease (see neuromyelitis optica) is an autoimmune condition that affects the spinal cord and optic nerves (the nerves that carry information regarding sight from the eye). In Devic disease, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys myelin, a fatty substance that surrounds nerves and helps nerve signals move from cell to cell. Signs and symptoms worsen with time and include optic neuritis; transverse myelitis; pain in spine and limbs; and bladder and bowel dysfunction. The exact cause of Devic’s disease is unknown. Most affected people do not have other family members with the condition. Currently there is no cure for Devic’s disease, but there are therapies to treat an attack while it is happening, to reduce symptoms, and to prevent relapses.
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