Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS), presenting with multifocal, disseminated inflammatory lesions referred to as plaques. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) typically depicts multiple, round to oval, circumscript lesions predominantly involving periventricular and subcortical white matter, brainstem and cerebellum. More recent investigations have demonstrated that the macroscopically visible plaques only present the tip of the iceberg: Already early in its course, MS causes neuroaxonal damage and diffusely involves the entire brain parenchyma including normal appearing white matter. These changes are reflected by strongly T1w hypointense lesions and atrophy of early onset, by reduction of the neuronal Marker N-acetylaspartate (NAA) on spectroscopy, by a decrease of the magnetization transfer ratio (MTR), by an increased in diffusibility and decreased anisotropy on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). MRI imaging is an important tool in the diagnosis of MS by revealing the characteristic spatial and temporal dissemination of the cerebral and spinal manifestations of this disease. Diagnostic criteria increase the diagnostic specificity and allow better differentiation from other diseases with multifocal white matter abnormalities.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy/methods
Nerve Fibers, Myelinated/pathology
Reproducibility of Results
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