Charcots Neuralgic Triad is something many MS patients will be acutely aware of, even though they may not know the name.

Multiple Sclerosis is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Which includes the brain and the spinal cord. As an MS patient of more than 25 years, I encountered this amazing multiple sclerosis video while searching for something else entirely.

It is true that, every day is a school day. I spend much of my time researching all things multiple sclerosis. So I was delighted when this video introduced me to a new MS term. The Charcots Neuralgic Triad is the name given to a trio of symptoms that are often experienced by MS patients. In their early days of living with multiple sclerosis.

Charcots Neuralgic Triad

One common trio of multiple sclerosis symptoms is called Charcots Neuralgic Triad. And it includes dysarthria which is difficulty with or unclear speech, nystagmus or involuntary eye movement and intention tremor.

Jean Marie Charcot

Dysarthria is due to plaques in the brain stem that affects fibres that control muscles of the mouth and throat. And this can interfere with conscious movements like eating and talking and can lead to things like a new stutter. As well as unconscious movements like swallowing.

Nystagmus is due to plaques around the nerves controlling eye movements. Plaques around the optic nerve cause loss of vision in one or both of the eyes. Because of damage to the optic nerve, which is called optic neuritis. Sometimes there is blurring or greying of the vision. Or, alternatively, there might be a dark point in the centre of vision.

Additionally, if there is damage to the nerves controlling eye movement, eye movements can be painful. And there may even be double-vision if the eyes no longer move in a coordinated way.

Multiple Sclerosis

Finally, intention tremors can be caused by plaques along the motor pathways in the spinal cord. Which can affect outbound signals like skeletal muscle control. Motor symptoms can include muscle weakness, muscle spasms, tremors and ataxia which is a loss of balance and coordination. In serious cases, this can lead to paralysis.

In addition, plaques in the sensory pathways can affect inbound signals. Like sensations from the skin, which causes numbness, pins and needles and paresthesias. Which are often a tingling feeling but, might also be a painful or burning sensation.

Occasionally, there can be very specific sensations like Lhermitte’s Sign. Which is when an electric shock runs down the back and radiates out to the limbs when a person bends their neck forward.

Plaques can also involve the autonomic nervous system which can lead to bowel and bladder problems. Like constipation and urinary incontinence as well as sexual symptoms like sexual dysfunction.

Finally, multiple sclerosis can also affect higher-order activities of the brain. Causing poor concentration in critical thinking, as well as depression and anxiety.

Jean-Martin Charcot the father of Neurology

Known as the father of neuroly, Jean-Martin Charcot was a French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology and his association with the Salpêtrière Hospital would span 33 years of his life. Charcot was known as an excellent medical teacher. And his famous pupils included Alfred Binet, Pierre Janet, and Sigmund Freud.


Charcot’s Neuralgic Triad MEMIM Encyclopedia
Jean-Martin Charcot PBS

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