Selma Blair

Actress Selma Blair, who is best known for her roles in films like Legally Blonde and Cruel Intentions, announced she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August.

Blair, 46, made the announcement on her Instagram account on Saturday.

Blair writes:

“I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself. I am in exacerbation [worsening condition]. By the grace of the lord, and will power and understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job. A wonderful job. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS.”

Blair said she often drops things on the street and she encouraged her fans to “feel free to help me pick it up.”

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) occurs when the outer covering of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged causing disruption of the signals to the body, similar to a short circuit in a wire.

What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?


The cause of multiple sclerosis is not clear. Researchers theorize that an underlying factor is destruction by the body’s own immune system or failure of the cells that make up the nerve cover. Some people are genetically predisposed to MS if it runs in their families. Other causes include viral infection.

The body’s immune system consists of white blood cells (WBCs) called macrophages that patrol the body looking for unwelcome invaders (foreign particles, virus, microbacteria, cancer, etc).

When it finds an invader, the WBCs surrounds it and engulfs it, causing destruction of the invader and leaving behind a telltale marker (antibodies) that will “remember” the same virus if it tries to infect the body again. This is what happens with cold viruses, which is why you get fewer colds as you age.

In the case of people with MS, the body’s immune system goes haywire and attacks the nerve covering, confusing it for an invader. Doctors don’t know why this happens.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of MS?

Symptoms of MS include muscle weakness, difficulty walking, numbness and tingling in your fingers, losing your balance or unsteady on your feet, and an electrical sensation like a chill running down the neck or back when you bend your neck.

Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Pins and needles in hands and feet
  • Poor bowel and bladder control
  • Vision problems (blurred vision, double vision)
  • Slurred speech
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of sensitivity in fingers and feet
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakness, feeling tired
  • Pain

    What is the Treatment for MS?

    There is no known cure for MS. Treatment involves relieving the symptoms of MS or improving function after an attack or preventing new attacks.


    Medications include steroids such as Prednisone, Dexamethasone, Methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol), etc. Steroids help to reduce the inflammation, but steroids are associated with long-term side effects which may be permanent, including moon face, bloating, insomnia, headache, stomach ulcers and high blood sugar.

    This has been your Medical Minute.

    Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images