Jack Osbourne diagnosed with multiple sclerosis: What does that mean?


by Brandy Aguilar, Special projects


Posted on June 19, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 19 at 9:00 AM

PHOENIX -- Jack Osbourne became a household name with his family's MTV reality series back in 2002. While we we're used to seeing the Osbournes arguing from time to time, the 26-year-old is now fighting a different battle -- multiple sclerosis (MS).

It’s an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

“I have patients who are teenagers, patients who are pre-teens and I have patients with onset of symptoms in their 50s,” said Dr. Barry Hendin of Phoenix Neurological Associates. He's also the chief of neurology at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

According to Hendin, MS symptoms can vary from loss of muscle control, to loss of vision, loss of balance and feeling numbness below some portion of the chest or abdomen.

“If they were young in particular it might be described to as growing pains,” Hendin said. “If they had a funny feeling in their legs or just a little bit of awkwardness due to the fact that you were never that well coordinated.”

Diagnosing MS, especially in young people, has been challenging over the years. But Hendin said things are much different now.

“We make it faster, we make it better and the MRI is part of it, but always a good history to understand what's going on," Hendin said. "Always a good physical exam to understand what's going on and then a knowledge of what MS looks like.”

And while the cause is unknown, the doctor said there are several treatments on the market to help those manage living with the disease.

“It's an MS that we can control much better,” Hendin said. “We can reduce the likelihood of relapses. We can reduce the likelihood of progression and we can offer a lot more optimistic future.”

Hendin said more MS treatments are in the works. Two more pills could be given the green light in the next six to eight months.

For more information log on to www.phoenixneurology.com.