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Multiple Sclerosis - Adult Comprehensive Care Center

The Stony Brook MS Adult Comprehensive Care Center sees patients not only from Long Island, but from all parts of the United States as well as from countries around the world.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the major acquired neurologic disease of young adults. It affects the central nervous system (CNS), both the brain and spinal cord. Most people (90%) develop MS between the ages of 15 and 50, but it can occasionally strike those both younger and older. The most common pattern (called relapsing MS) involves neurologic attacks (also called relapses, exacerbations, flareups) where deficits such as decreased vision in one eye, pins and needles from the waist down, or double vision are noted consistently over several days to weeks before improving. The more unusual pattern (called Progressive MS) involves gradual worsening, most often in ability to walk, which occurs over months to years without recovery.

MS is more common in women (70 to 75% of patients tend to be women), although the Progressive from onset form tends to occur in older individuals (late 30s, early 40s) and affects men as often as women.

MS patients may experience prolonged periods where they appear to be clinically stable. However, it is now known that the disease does not remit. There is ongoing accumulating permanent damage in untreated patients, even when they appear to be doing well.

Diagnose and Treat Early

Early diagnosis is now recognized as very important, since there are a number of approved disease modifying agents to treat the relapsing forms of MS. It appears that the best long-term outcomes are seen when treatment is started early. It is very important not to ignore symptoms that could represent a first attack of MS.

The Stony Brook Difference

The Stony Brook Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Adult Comprehensive Care Center was the first center of its kind on Long Island. Started in 1990 by Dr. Patricia K. Coyle, an internationally recognized expert in MS, the Center has about 1,700 patient visits a year. 

It is staffed by an experienced care team focusing on patient care, education, and MS research:

Patricia K. Coyle, MD,  Director, has several decades of experience with nervous system immune-mediated and infectious disorders. She has been involved since medical school with patient care and research focused on MS.

Louis Manganas, MD,  Co-Director, is a recognized expert in Pediatric MS. He also sees adult patients in the MS Center.

Patricia Melville, NP, is certified in MS Care, and as the Center's nurse practitioner provides rapid care and assessment, and assures a readily available communications contact.

Ruth Mahnken, RN, is the Center's ambulatory care and research nurse, with a long experience with MS.

These care team members are supported by additional staff including fellows, neuropsychologists, social service experts, rehabilitation specialists, and physicians with expertise in Neuro-Ophthalmology, Neuro-ENT, Neuro-Urology and Sexual Dysfunctions.