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Diagnosing MS: Recognizing Common Symptoms and Interpreting MRI Results

Michael C. Levin, MD, and W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh

Published: August 26, 2014

Article Abstract

An accurate and timely diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) can enable clinicians to initiate disease-modifying treatment as soon as possible to slow the debilitating progression of the disease. Clinicians must be familiar with the common symptoms related to MS and complete a thorough patient history and physical examination. Updated diagnostic criteria enable clinicians to make a diagnosis of MS in 1 visit using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm lesions in at least 2 separate CNS areas occurring during at least 2 separate times. Clinicians may administer additional tests as needed to rule out conditions that can produce lesions and/or symptoms similar to MS. Clinicians who recognize symptoms, order appropriate tests, and rule out alternate conditions may provide patients with an early diagnosis of MS and help them receive timely treatment.

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