MRI Tests May Help Predict MS Progression

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) often live with uncertainty because it's hard to predict how quickly the disease will progress and how disabling it might become.

Magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs) have long been used to assist in diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS). But now these tests are providing information that can tell experts what type of MS a patient may get, if any. 

Experts say that by using the first MRI after the presentation of disease and determining location, length, and numbers of lesions, they created a feasible way to predict whether a patient will have more attacks. They can also gauge whether a person’s disease will turn into relapsing MS or progressive MS.

Based on the observations following MRI imaging, several markers were identified that could predict a higher risk of recurrence within the first year. The number of lesions, lesion length, and presence of lesions perpendicular to the corpus callosum seen on the MRI scan may help physicians to recognize patients who may require earlier treatment with disease-modifying drugs.

“This small study adds to the literature of MRI studies which suggest the utility of specific MRI parameters as prognostic indicators,” said Dr. Barbara Giesser, professor of clinical neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles and clinical director of the UCLA MS program.

“What people are trying to accomplish is to diagnose as early as possible,” added Bruce Bebo, executive vice president of research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “The earlier we treat [MS], the better the outcomes. We know that.”

To learn more about the study click here.

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