Devic’s disease (neuromyelitis optica)

Devic’s disease (neuromyelitis optica)

Devic’s disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the spinal cord and optic nerves (the nerves that carry information regarding sight from the eye).

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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Patricia Barber
Patricia Barber
For the last 20 years, Pat has been helping patients and caregivers live better lives, advocate for change, and Virginia's "right hand" making sure the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed. She lives in Michigan and couldn't picture herself doing anything but helping the autoimmune community.