Researchers in Nottingham, UK, have been trying to find a quicker and more accurate way of identifying MS in patients with an unclear diagnosis. To do this they have focused on T2-weighted MRI scans that can show both hyperintense MS lesions and their central veins, which appear hypointense in contrast. Lesions with central veins are called perivenous lesions. In reading your MRI report, you might see reference to periventricular lesions. These are lesions located near cerebral ventricles (a series of interconnected, fluid-filled spaces in the core of the forebrain and brainstem) that are common in MS.
What the researchers have found is that the percentage of lesions that are perivenous can predict whether a patient has MS. Using an ultra-high-field 7T MRI machine for a 2013 study, Mistry et al found that patients for whom more than 40 percent of their lesions had central veins developed MS. Those who had fewer than 40 percent of perivenous lesions did not have MS. This was true for 100 percent of the 29 patients included in the study.
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New Way to Evaluate MRI Scans May Lead to Faster MS Diagnosis