Top Docs: Profiles

Meet 11 of our 2007 Top Doctors.

October 2007

Dr. William Bentley

Colorado Permanente Medical Group P.C.; Neurology Department at Skyline Medical Offices, Good Samaritan, St. Joseph—Practicing for 29 years

Colorado Statistic Nearly 8,500 Coloradans suffer from multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system. This is a higher incidence rate compared to many parts of the country.

"In Colorado, there's a higher awareness of multiple sclerosis in the medical and public community. We're in a geographic tier of heightened MS incidences. I don't think it is absolutely accurate to say we are a pocket of MS, but we see more here than if you were in the southern half of the country; the difference is significant. It's one of those diseases that's not predictable, although there is a demographic pattern to the occurrence. We most commonly see MS in young adults, typically starting in the 20s and up to the 40s. It's significantly more common in women than in men, and if there is a family history of MS. It is not a disease that is genetically transmitted, but it is partly dependent on our genes that influence the way our immune system reacts to our environment. There is nothing that has ever been shown to prevent or cure it. People hear MS and it's scary because the public image of the disease is that it's rapidly debilitating. In fact, that is a small percent of all cases. The majority of cases are relapsing/remitting, meaning that patients get a flare of symptoms and then get better, typically over weeks to months. Over time, if we can't control those episodes of inflammation, the areas of inflammation can become areas of injury in the brain and spine that can lead to persistent or worsening neurological damage. Based on MRI scans, there are episodes of inflammation that can come and go with no symptoms. A small percent of cases are progressive from the beginning; they are more difficult to control. We have a number of effective treatments to slow down the disease activity in these cases."

Symptoms Check  The most common signs are blurring of vision or double vision, numbness, weakness, or uncoordination. If you have any of these symptoms without apparent cause, lasting days to weeks, then that would be a bothersome symptom."