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Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis

NIH - Medical Encyclopedia Multiple Sclerosis

"Multiple sclerosis (MS) usually affects woman more than men. The disorder most commonly begins between ages 20 and 40, but can strike at any age. The exact cause is not known, but MS is believed to result from damage to the myelin sheath, the protective material which surrounds nerve cells. It is a progressive disease, meaning the damage gets worse over time. Inflammation destroys the myelin, leaving multiple areas of scar tissue (sclerosis). The inflammation occurs when the body's own immune cells attack the nervous system. The inflammation causes nerve impulses to slow down or become blocked, leading to the symptoms of MS. Repeated episodes, or flare ups, of inflammation can occur along any area of the brain and spinal cord."

Highlighted Article

The role of MRI in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. (Adv Neurol. 2006)

"There is no single test that is diagnostic of MS, including MRI. The lesions detected with MRI are pathologically nonspecific. The principles of MS diagnosis are based on showing dissemination of white matter lesions in space and time. The first important role for MRI in the diagnosis of MS allows for an early diagnosis of MS The second important role for MRI in the diagnostic work-up of suspected MS patients is to rule out alternative diagnoses obvious on MRI, such as spinal stenosis and most brain tumors. Characteristic lesions that favor MS include Dawson Fingers, ovoid lesions, corpus callosum lesions, and asymptomatic spinal cord lesions. However, other white matter diseases can have similar appearances on MRI. MRI evidence plays a supportive role in what is ultimately a clinical diagnosis of MS, in the appropriate clinical situation, and always at the exclusion of alternative diagnoses."

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