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Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- MRI scan—This test uses magnetic waves to check for damage to the myelin sheath of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It can also be used to look for any decrease in gray matter. A contrast substance (gadolinium) may be used to help doctors identify areas of active inflammation. MRI scans can track changes in the disease.
- Evoked responses—This test records the speed of the electrical responses in sensory, visual, or auditory nerves after a repeated sensory stimulus. This test can help identify abnormal areas affected by MS. Visual evoked potential tests are most often used in evaluating MS.
- Lumbar puncture—In this procedure, a small amount of fluid from around the spinal cord is removed and checked for white blood cells, antibodies, and proteins. Doctors look for abnormal changes associated with MS.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)- A test to evaluate the effect of MS on the optic nerves as well as side effects of some MS treatments.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2016
- Update Date: 09/13/2016