Monday, November 21, 2016

MS Symptoms and MRI Lesions Don't Always Match

One of the most mysterious things about multiple sclerosis (MS) is the wide variety of symptoms and lack of uniformity in disability progression. Although some symptoms can be traced to lesions in specific areas of the central nervous system, including the brain, spine, and optic nerves, there is often a disconnect between relapses, lesions, and disability. Little about MS follows predictable patterns.

In the MS community, I’ve heard lots of questions regarding this apparent disconnect. People with MS are sincerely trying to make sense of the disease and find an explanation for their unpredictable experiences. Here are some common questions and potential explanations.

“I had a relapse, but my annual MRI didn’t show any active lesions. Why not?”

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is helpful in the diagnosis of MS because it can detect inflammation and demyelination that primarily affects white matter in the brain or spinal cord. Active inflammation and new demyelination show up in MRI as gadolinium-enhancing lesions. As inflammation resolves and the body works to repair itself, lesions will no longer enhance. Researchers have indicated that it could take monthly MRI scans to catch these lesions as they come and go.

Read this post in its entirety:
Why Don’t My Lesions Match My MS Symptoms?

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