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Diagnosing MS

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Old 06-14-2007, 06:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Monica
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marye77 HB User
Diagnosing MS


I'm new to these boards, but I had a question regarding diagnosing MS. How accurate is an MRI in diagnosing MS?

I had a 'negative' MRI 2 years should I proceed?

Here's my quick story if you're interested:

I'm 29 now and about two years ago, I was experiencing a whole host of symptoms from tingling hands to fatigue to head pressure.

My doctor at the time suggested MS and had me go in for a brain MRI. I never saw the actual report, but my doctor called to let me know it did not show MS, but did show small white matter changes. I asked what this meant, and he said it could be normal and there was no way of knowing for sure, but that i shouldn't worry.

By this time, my symptoms were slowly starting to disappear so I didn't push the matter. A year later, I felt weakness (kind of jelloish) in my right leg. Tingling hands returned, as did cold feet. Then they too slowly dissipated.

Now similar symptoms have returned a 3rd time, and I'm wondering if the doctor ruled out MS too early. I'd appreciate hearing about your diagnosing experiences if you'd like to share them.


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Old 06-14-2007, 06:50 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 11,797
MSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB User
Re: Diagnosing MS

Be careful what you wish for! By that, I mean listening to people dx stories!! No two cases of MS are ever alike, they are like fingerprints, individual to each, youre getting more than you bargained for asking for that information to be shared! But its a good question. Youll get lots of posts.

First of all, welcome to our board. We are a wealth of information....if you use the search engine above, specifically for Healthboards, and type in key words like MS dx youll get TONS of posts on this.

Im not going to bore you with my story, instead Ill just give you some facts. For some people, it takes YEARS to get a MS dx. For others, (like me) the diagnosis comes in a matter of weeks. It depends on what the MRI shows at the first round of testing, and also how your doctor proceeds. Let me suggest that you see a good MS doctor, not a regular Neurologist. Youll get a faster answer on YES or NO to MS. You asked how good an MRI is as a diagnostic tool. AT this time, its one of the few available. You can do a LP (lumbar puncture or spinal tap) which is usually done to confirm MS- O-bands show in the spinal fluid....however, in two years any NUMBER of things could change in an MRI. You should be getting another one for comparison sake. I have over 50 legions in my brain. Normally both a brain and spine are MRI'ed in the beginning. Legions can show in either place. Legions, are scar tissue. Formed by the disease itself. As the disease attacks the myelin sheath, the legions are, they show as white matter on an MRI. BUT, white matter and scar tissue can also be formed by head trauma or even migranes, so just having them isnt enough, They are usually specifically in certain areas of the brain, and in a certain pattern. THere is specificic criteria used to determine if MS is a possiblity. Apparently, you didnt meet that criteria 2 years ago.

At this time, though, what you describe definately sounds neurological. You should seek a good Neurologist and as I suggested earlier, you might want to try to get an appt with an MS specialist to start further evaluation. Your doctor may NOT have ruled it out too early, but in two years LOTS can and probably has changed...

Wishing you luck. Please ask questions if anything I said, you arent understanding..

Old 06-16-2007, 07:21 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Monica
Posts: 7
marye77 HB User
Re: Diagnosing MS

Thanks so much for your reply! I greatly appreciate it.


Old 06-16-2007, 08:32 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 2,465
duttin HB Userduttin HB User
Re: Diagnosing MS

My DX was not as quick as Nikki's,mine was a 2 year road with many DRs ruling out other disorders.

Get a copy of your past medical records ,thats including the MRI films and report.

This could definantly be neurological,seek a good neuro and go from there.

MS effects all of us differently and its basically an individulized disease with a laundry list of symptoms.

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