Transverse Myelitis Information Page

Transverse Myelitis Information Page


What research is being done?

Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are working to better understand the process by which the immune system destroys or attacks myelin in transverse myelitis and autoimmune disorders.  NINDS-funded scientists are studying cellular mechanisms that control the generation and maturation of cells that generate myelin-producing cells, while other scientists hope to develop a better understanding of the molecular control of myelination. Additional research funded by the NINDS aims to develop new imaging techniques to assess the relationship between spinal cord pathology and neurological dysfunction in multiple sclerosis, which may possibly aid in other myelin disorders such as transverse myelitis.

conducts research related to transverse myelitis in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also supports additional transverse myelitis research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  Some studies focus on strategies to repair the spinal cord, including approaches using cell transplantation.  The NINDS also funds researchers who are using animal models of spinal cord injury to study strategies for replacement or regeneration of spinal cord nerve cells.  The knowledge gained from such research should lead to a greater knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for transverse myelitis and may ultimately provide a means to prevent and treat this disorder.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Diseases

×
What research is being done?

Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are working to better understand the process by which the immune system destroys or attacks myelin in transverse myelitis and autoimmune disorders.  NINDS-funded scientists are studying cellular mechanisms that control the generation and maturation of cells that generate myelin-producing cells, while other scientists hope to develop a better understanding of the molecular control of myelination. Additional research funded by the NINDS aims to develop new imaging techniques to assess the relationship between spinal cord pathology and neurological dysfunction in multiple sclerosis, which may possibly aid in other myelin disorders such as transverse myelitis.

conducts research related to transverse myelitis in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also supports additional transverse myelitis research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  Some studies focus on strategies to repair the spinal cord, including approaches using cell transplantation.  The NINDS also funds researchers who are using animal models of spinal cord injury to study strategies for replacement or regeneration of spinal cord nerve cells.  The knowledge gained from such research should lead to a greater knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for transverse myelitis and may ultimately provide a means to prevent and treat this disorder.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Diseases

Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are working to better understand the process by which the immune system destroys or attacks myelin in transverse myelitis and autoimmune disorders.  NINDS-funded scientists are studying cellular mechanisms that control the generation and maturation of cells that generate myelin-producing cells, while other scientists hope to develop a better understanding of the molecular control of myelination. Additional research funded by the NINDS aims to develop new imaging techniques to assess the relationship between spinal cord pathology and neurological dysfunction in multiple sclerosis, which may possibly aid in other myelin disorders such as transverse myelitis.

conducts research related to transverse myelitis in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also supports additional transverse myelitis research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  Some studies focus on strategies to repair the spinal cord, including approaches using cell transplantation.  The NINDS also funds researchers who are using animal models of spinal cord injury to study strategies for replacement or regeneration of spinal cord nerve cells.  The knowledge gained from such research should lead to a greater knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for transverse myelitis and may ultimately provide a means to prevent and treat this disorder.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Diseases

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Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
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Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord. The inflammation interrupts communications between nerve fibers in the spinal cord and the rest of the body, affectng sensation and nerve signaling below the damage to the protective nerve coating called myelin. The segment of the spinal cord at which the damage occurs determines which parts of the body are affected. Damage at one segment will affect function at that level and below. In people with transverse myelitis, the myelin damage most often occurs in neres in the upper back, causing problems with leg movement and bowel and bladder control, which require signals from the lower segments of the spinal cord.  Classic symptoms include weakness of the arms and legs; sensory alterations such as burning, pricking, numbness, or sensory loss;  pain (usually in the lower back or down the legs and arms or around the torso); and bowel and bladder dysfunction. Symptoms may develop suddenly or over days or weeks. Some cases of transverse myelitis occur on their own, but a number of conditions appear to cause the disorder, including immune system disorders, bacteial and viral infections, fungal infections, and various parasites.  Transverse myelitis can affect people of any age, but a peak in incidence rates appears to occur between 10 and 19 years of age and 30 to 39 years of age.

×
Definition

Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord. The inflammation interrupts communications between nerve fibers in the spinal cord and the rest of the body, affectng sensation and nerve signaling below the damage to the protective nerve coating called myelin. The segment of the spinal cord at which the damage occurs determines which parts of the body are affected. Damage at one segment will affect function at that level and below. In people with transverse myelitis, the myelin damage most often occurs in neres in the upper back, causing problems with leg movement and bowel and bladder control, which require signals from the lower segments of the spinal cord.  Classic symptoms include weakness of the arms and legs; sensory alterations such as burning, pricking, numbness, or sensory loss;  pain (usually in the lower back or down the legs and arms or around the torso); and bowel and bladder dysfunction. Symptoms may develop suddenly or over days or weeks. Some cases of transverse myelitis occur on their own, but a number of conditions appear to cause the disorder, including immune system disorders, bacteial and viral infections, fungal infections, and various parasites.  Transverse myelitis can affect people of any age, but a peak in incidence rates appears to occur between 10 and 19 years of age and 30 to 39 years of age.

Treatment
Treatment

No effective cure currently exists for people with transverse myelitis.  Physicians often prescribe corticosteroid drugs to decrease inflammation and reduce immune system activity.  Plasma exchange theray may be used for people who don't respond well to intravenous steriod drugs.  Medications may be prescribed to treat pain and other symptoms and complications.  Rehabilitative therapy (physical, occupational, vocational, and psychotherapy) can help individuals become as functionally independent as possible. 

×
Treatment

No effective cure currently exists for people with transverse myelitis.  Physicians often prescribe corticosteroid drugs to decrease inflammation and reduce immune system activity.  Plasma exchange theray may be used for people who don't respond well to intravenous steriod drugs.  Medications may be prescribed to treat pain and other symptoms and complications.  Rehabilitative therapy (physical, occupational, vocational, and psychotherapy) can help individuals become as functionally independent as possible. 

Definition
Definition

Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord. The inflammation interrupts communications between nerve fibers in the spinal cord and the rest of the body, affectng sensation and nerve signaling below the damage to the protective nerve coating called myelin. The segment of the spinal cord at which the damage occurs determines which parts of the body are affected. Damage at one segment will affect function at that level and below. In people with transverse myelitis, the myelin damage most often occurs in neres in the upper back, causing problems with leg movement and bowel and bladder control, which require signals from the lower segments of the spinal cord.  Classic symptoms include weakness of the arms and legs; sensory alterations such as burning, pricking, numbness, or sensory loss;  pain (usually in the lower back or down the legs and arms or around the torso); and bowel and bladder dysfunction. Symptoms may develop suddenly or over days or weeks. Some cases of transverse myelitis occur on their own, but a number of conditions appear to cause the disorder, including immune system disorders, bacteial and viral infections, fungal infections, and various parasites.  Transverse myelitis can affect people of any age, but a peak in incidence rates appears to occur between 10 and 19 years of age and 30 to 39 years of age.

Treatment
Treatment

No effective cure currently exists for people with transverse myelitis.  Physicians often prescribe corticosteroid drugs to decrease inflammation and reduce immune system activity.  Plasma exchange theray may be used for people who don't respond well to intravenous steriod drugs.  Medications may be prescribed to treat pain and other symptoms and complications.  Rehabilitative therapy (physical, occupational, vocational, and psychotherapy) can help individuals become as functionally independent as possible. 

Prognosis
Prognosis

Most people with transverse myelitis have at least partial recovery, with most recovery taking place within the first 3 months after the attack.  Recovery may continue for up to 2 years (and sometimes longer) in some people.  If there is no improvement within the first 3 to 6 months, complete recovery is unlikely (although some recovery can occur and still requires rehabilitation). Some individuals may have moderate disability while others have permanent weakness and other complications.  Many individuals experience only one episode of transverse myelitis.  Some people recover completely and then experience a relapse, while others becin to recover and then suffer worsening of symptoms before recovery continues.

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Most people with transverse myelitis have at least partial recovery, with most recovery taking place within the first 3 months after the attack.  Recovery may continue for up to 2 years (and sometimes longer) in some people.  If there is no improvement within the first 3 to 6 months, complete recovery is unlikely (although some recovery can occur and still requires rehabilitation). Some individuals may have moderate disability while others have permanent weakness and other complications.  Many individuals experience only one episode of transverse myelitis.  Some people recover completely and then experience a relapse, while others becin to recover and then suffer worsening of symptoms before recovery continues.

Prognosis
Prognosis

Most people with transverse myelitis have at least partial recovery, with most recovery taking place within the first 3 months after the attack.  Recovery may continue for up to 2 years (and sometimes longer) in some people.  If there is no improvement within the first 3 to 6 months, complete recovery is unlikely (although some recovery can occur and still requires rehabilitation). Some individuals may have moderate disability while others have permanent weakness and other complications.  Many individuals experience only one episode of transverse myelitis.  Some people recover completely and then experience a relapse, while others becin to recover and then suffer worsening of symptoms before recovery continues.

Definition

Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord. The inflammation interrupts communications between nerve fibers in the spinal cord and the rest of the body, affectng sensation and nerve signaling below the damage to the protective nerve coating called myelin. The segment of the spinal cord at which the damage occurs determines which parts of the body are affected. Damage at one segment will affect function at that level and below. In people with transverse myelitis, the myelin damage most often occurs in neres in the upper back, causing problems with leg movement and bowel and bladder control, which require signals from the lower segments of the spinal cord.  Classic symptoms include weakness of the arms and legs; sensory alterations such as burning, pricking, numbness, or sensory loss;  pain (usually in the lower back or down the legs and arms or around the torso); and bowel and bladder dysfunction. Symptoms may develop suddenly or over days or weeks. Some cases of transverse myelitis occur on their own, but a number of conditions appear to cause the disorder, including immune system disorders, bacteial and viral infections, fungal infections, and various parasites.  Transverse myelitis can affect people of any age, but a peak in incidence rates appears to occur between 10 and 19 years of age and 30 to 39 years of age.

Treatment

No effective cure currently exists for people with transverse myelitis.  Physicians often prescribe corticosteroid drugs to decrease inflammation and reduce immune system activity.  Plasma exchange theray may be used for people who don't respond well to intravenous steriod drugs.  Medications may be prescribed to treat pain and other symptoms and complications.  Rehabilitative therapy (physical, occupational, vocational, and psychotherapy) can help individuals become as functionally independent as possible. 

Prognosis

Most people with transverse myelitis have at least partial recovery, with most recovery taking place within the first 3 months after the attack.  Recovery may continue for up to 2 years (and sometimes longer) in some people.  If there is no improvement within the first 3 to 6 months, complete recovery is unlikely (although some recovery can occur and still requires rehabilitation). Some individuals may have moderate disability while others have permanent weakness and other complications.  Many individuals experience only one episode of transverse myelitis.  Some people recover completely and then experience a relapse, while others becin to recover and then suffer worsening of symptoms before recovery continues.

What research is being done?

Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are working to better understand the process by which the immune system destroys or attacks myelin in transverse myelitis and autoimmune disorders.  NINDS-funded scientists are studying cellular mechanisms that control the generation and maturation of cells that generate myelin-producing cells, while other scientists hope to develop a better understanding of the molecular control of myelination. Additional research funded by the NINDS aims to develop new imaging techniques to assess the relationship between spinal cord pathology and neurological dysfunction in multiple sclerosis, which may possibly aid in other myelin disorders such as transverse myelitis.

conducts research related to transverse myelitis in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also supports additional transverse myelitis research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  Some studies focus on strategies to repair the spinal cord, including approaches using cell transplantation.  The NINDS also funds researchers who are using animal models of spinal cord injury to study strategies for replacement or regeneration of spinal cord nerve cells.  The knowledge gained from such research should lead to a greater knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for transverse myelitis and may ultimately provide a means to prevent and treat this disorder.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Diseases

Patient Organizations
American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA)
P.O. Box 850
Rocklin
CA
Rocklin, CA 95677-0850
Tel: 916-632-0922; 800-533-3231
Cody Unser First Step Foundation
P.O. Box 56696
Albuquerque
NM
Albuquerque, NM 87187
Tel: 505-999-9550
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
P.O. Box 016960
R-48
Miami
FL
Miami, FL 33101-6960
Tel: 305-243-6001; 800-STANDUP (782-6387)
National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
8400 Corporate Drive
Suite 500
Landover
MD
Landover, MD 20785
Tel: 301-459-5900; 800-346-2742; 301-459-5984 (TTY)
The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation
10525 Vista Sorrento Pkwy
Suite 210
San Diego
CA
San Diego, CA 92121
Tel: 858-638-7638
Transverse Myelitis Association
1787 Sutter Parkway
Powell
OH
Powell, OH 43065-8806
Tel: 614-317-4884; 855-380-3330
Publications

Transverse Myelitis fact sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Información sobre mielitis transversa/Spanish-language fact sheet on transverse mielitis compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Patient Organizations