A Beloved Mouseketeer and Multiple Sclerosis

Annette Funicello dies at age 70

elderly couple with cane holding hands

Annette Funicello, one of the original mouseketeers of the 1950s “Mickey Mouse Club” and star of numerous 1960s “beach party” films, died on April 8 from complications due to multiple sclerosis (MS),

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For more than 25 years, Ms. Funicello struggled with MS, a central-nervous system disorder that attacks the brain and spinal cord.

Different people are affected differently by the disease and will experience different symptoms. These may come and go over time (relapse-remitting MS) or progress over time (progressive MS).

Symptoms may include:

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•    Affected vision
•    Weakness or numbness in one or more parts of the body
•    Loss of balance
•    Difficulty walking
•    Fatigue
•    Tingling down the back, arm or legs
•    Urinary symptoms

The disease is typically diagnosed in people aged 20 to 40, says Mary Rensel, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis,

She says today more teens and even younger children are being diagnosed with MS, thanks to more effective diagnostic tools such as MRI. Today, experts say there are also more promising advances in MS treatment therapy.

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