What do MRI results reveal in multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Christopher Luzzio, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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MRI shows brain abnormalities in 90-95% of MS patients and spinal cord lesions in up to 75%, especially in elderly patients. [75] T2-weighted images show edema and more chronic lesions, whereas T1-weighted images demonstrate cerebral atrophy and "black holes." These black holes represent areas of axonal death.

According to new research, monitoring levels of iron in specific areas of the brain in patients with MS by using novel MRI may track disease progression and assess treatment efficacy in clinical trials. In the study, a new technique known as quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) identified different iron patterns in the brains of patients with MS (N=600) compared with healthy controls (N=250). Patients with MS had lower iron content in the thalamus and higher iron content in other deep gray-matter structures compared with controls. [76]

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