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Early Recognition and Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis

Emmanuelle Waubant, MD, PhD

Published: April 15, 2012

Article Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder associated with inflammation and demyelination in the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord. Patients with MS may present with a wide range of clinical symptoms, either monofocal or multifocal, all of which are related to the central nervous system. Although several strategies for the early recognition of MS are available, diagnostic criteria call for MRI of the brain and spinal cord due to its specificity in identifying white matter lesions disseminated in time and space. The course of MS is unpredictable, but 4 clinical subtypes have been described: relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive, primary progressive, and progressive relapsing. Prevalence rates for MS vary depending on geography, and susceptibility for MS appears to be influenced by both environmental and genetic risk factors.

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