Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Multiple Sclerosis Without Evidence of Demyelination?

People who are in the process of being tested for multiple sclerosis often have many questions. Some of the most common questions surround the subjects of MRIs and lesions. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a powerful tool used to help diagnosis MS as well as measure disease progression. Lesions are the scars caused by demyelination which can be detected by MRI scan.

There have been many occasions where people in the process of being diagnosed with MS ask whether it is possible to have MS and not have brain lesions. The short answer is an unequivocal YES.

When I first experienced blinding optic neuritis in 2000, the neurologist ordered MRI scans of my brain. The results showed inflammation of the optic nerve, but no detectable lesions in the brain. Thus I was not diagnosed with MS at that time.

Five years later, when I was undergoing MRI testing of both my brain and cervical spine, lesions were seen in my neck. But my brain was still clear from lesions or atrophy. We only had to wait a few months until additional lesions showed up in my cervical spine and an official diagnosis was made.

Eventually the smaller lesions in my spine grew together to form one large lesion that spanned from the C4 to C6 vertebras. At the time I switched from my original disease-modifying therapy (Copaxone) to a totally different treatment approach (off-label Rituxan), I was hoping to avoid developing even larger lesions in my spine as I was definitely experiencing increased symptoms and relapses.

After I had been on Rituxan for a year, my MRI report indicated stability in lesion load, meaning that I had not developed any new or larger lesions. Follow-up scans two years later were stable, without evidence of new or worsening lesions, once again.

Another two years have past and I’ve just recently undergone MRI exam to determine two things: 1) How is my MS is doing? and 2) Is my current treatment continuing to be effective? What follows are the radiologist’s reports following the recent MRIs.

Read this post in its entirety:
Living with MS: No Evidence of Demyelination

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