Selma Blair's Remission From Multiple Sclerosis Explained

Selma Blair, the American actress who made a name for herself in the popular films, like "Cruel Intentions" and "Legally Blonde," and on several television series, announced she is in remission from multiple sclerosis (via Associated Press). Blair revealed at the August 2021 Television Critics Association panel that her "prognosis is great." Her remission is the result of an experimental treatment known as hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, which is a method that "uses stem cells derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood or umbilical cord blood," as reported by the AP.

Blair first announced her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in October 2018. "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 explained in an Instagram post, adding, "I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know."

The actress revealed that she was in remission while promoting the documentary, "Introducing Selma Blair", which will premiere in October 2021 in theaters and on Discovery+. The film follows the star as she "reconciles a journey of monumental transition" while managing MS, according to Deadline. Blair's announcement comes just a week after another well-known American actress, Christina Applegate, revealed that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

A deeper understanding of multiple sclerosis

According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, when someone has multiple sclerosis (MS), "the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body." It is progressive, often becoming serious enough to cause permanent damage to the nerves.

MS is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system attacks its own healthy tissue. Signs and symptoms for the disease can vary. Common symptoms can include numbness or weakness in a particular limb on one side of the body, tremors or an unsteady gait, feelings of electric shocks in the neck when making certain movements, and blurry vision or vision loss. The Mayo Clinic states that other symptoms can also include slurred speech, tingling or pain in areas of the body, and fatigue, among others.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the cause of MS is not yet known. Research is ongoing as scientists investigate the possibility of causes being due to a combination of environmental and infectious factors, such as low levels of vitamin D, smoking, obesity, and viruses such as the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), as well as whether genes play any role. The organization estimates that more than a million adults in the U.S. and 2.3 million people worldwide have MS (via Healthline).