Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Affecting more women than men, the disorder most commonly begins between ages 20 and 40, but can be seen at any age. MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve impulses are slowed down or stopped.
MS is a progressive disease, meaning the nerve damage gets worse over time. This nerve damage is caused by inflammation when the body's own immune cells attack the nervous system. The speed and severity of nerve damage varies from person to person. Repeated episodes of inflammation can occur along any area of the brain and spinal cord.
Since 1985, the Linda Morgante Multiple Sclerosis Care Center has been affiliated with the NYC Chapter of the National MS Society, which recognizes our Center as a "MS Center of Excellence." Dr. Aaron Miller, who serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the National MS Society, and is a prominent researcher and teacher, is a Co-Director of our Center, along with Dr. Robyn Wolintz, a fellowship-trained neuro-ophthalmologist.
Our nurses, Theresa LaRocca, who is certified as an MS Nurse Specialist, and Sarah Schaefer, provide outstanding care and overall support for our patients. Ms. LaRocca's involvement with the International Organization of MS Nurses has provided our Center with national recognition. Ms. LaRocca has lectured extensively to both patients and health care professionals around the country, and was inducted into the Healthcare Professional Volunteer Hall of Fame in 2011. For many years, we have fielded a top-tier team for the annual MS Walk; in 2012 we raised over $36,000.
Our center offers multiple in-house services. Medication infusions, including Tysabri, are performed at the Cancer Center by Ms. Schaefer. Our center also offers comprehensive social work services. Neuro-ophthalmological evaluations are performed by Dr. Wolintz, and full ophthalmological services by Dr. Norman Saffra. Urological care, Neuro-imaging, and Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy services are also present in-house.