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Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

It is not always easy to make a confirmed diagnosis of multiple sclerosis because early symptoms may be minor and sporadic. It can also be difficult because other diseases can have similar warning signs, and there is no definitive single laboratory test to confirm MS. The diagnosis is made based on a neurological examination and a history of neurological symptoms.

During the neurological evaluation our team sorts out even the most complex cases. Other diseases that mimic multiple sclerosis are carefully and systematically excluded. Some of the tests typically used for this evaluation include:

  • MRI of the brain and/or spinal cord – The MRI often shows plaques or scars typical of MS.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) evaluation – Using a lumbar puncture or spinal tap, the CSF evaluation may show immunological abnormalities that help in the diagnosis.
  • Evoked potential studies – Measuring conduction of electrical impulses along the optic nerve (in patients suspected of having optic neuritis) and along nerve pathways in the brain and spinal cord.

Request an Appointment

For more information about diagnosing MS, request an appointment with our doctors.

 

Related Links

MS Awareness: Mark Roeder with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Dr. Peter Calabresi from Johns Hopkins’ MS Center talk research and fund raising events on WBAL-TV.

Hopkins and dreamMakerS host A Day for Families Living with MS: Baltimore Sun coverage

Experimental Drug Improves Memory in Mice with Multiple Sclerosis

Using The Eye As A ‘Window Into The Brain’

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to More Severe Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Learn more about the relationship between multiple sclerosis and transverse myelitis at Project RESTORE.
Project RESTORE team

 

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