MS patient Salpy Dekermendjian at her family home in Bourj Hammoud, where she is cared for by her mother, Hasmig, center, and sister, Ani, left. (The Daily Star/Abby Sewell)
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Salpy Dekermendjian was a 21-year-old English literature student at the Lebanese University when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She graduated from the university, worked office jobs, wrote columns for publications like Aztag Daily, a Lebanese Armenian newspaper, and played the organ at church. A few years into the disease, a chronic autoimmune condition affecting the central nervous system, she had to use a walker to get around. MS typically strikes young adults, more often women than men, and in many cases leaves them with severe physical disabilities. But with advances in treatment, more patients are able to manage the disease and live a normal life for many years. Treatments to slow the progression of the disease have become more effective, especially if it is diagnosed early, doctors said, and some are hopeful that a cure is on the horizon.The exact causes of MS are not known. Like Dekermendjian, she was a university student when she was diagnosed with MS, 10 years ago.
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