5 Important Tools in Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis
For detection of multiple sclerosis, a set of criteria has been formulated (known as the McDonald Criteria) which, when confirmed, helps to initiate treatments for the disease, while further confirmatory tests can be performed to zero in on a definite case of multiple sclerosis.
The most important tools for confirming MS include:
1. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which helps to detect the lesions caused as a result of demyelination. MRI is the most non-invasive and sensitive way of imaging the brain and spinal cord.
One of the teams that participated in the 10th anniversary of the MS Melbourne Cycle, an annual biking challenge to raise money for MS Australia, built a bicycle that as closely as possible replicates the physical difficulties and discomforts that typify multiple sclerosis (MS).
2. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) is the clear liquid the cushions the brain and spinal cord, and changes in this fluid can indicate problems. According to the National Health Service (U.K.), a lumbar puncture, usually done under a local anesthetic, is used to remove a fluid sample, which will then be tested for immune cells and antibodies.
3. Evoked Potentials (EP) are tests to measure the electrical activity of the brain in response to stimulation, checking the strength of the nervous system and the speed of impulses based on the stimulation of specific sensory pathways. These tests, commonly done to the eyes, can reveal demyelination.
4. Neurological Exams look for changes, weakness, or abnormalities in vision, eye movements, extremity strength (hands or legs), balance and coordination, speech, and reflexes.
5. Blood cultures are done to rule out other possible causes of symptoms, such as a vitamin deficiency.
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