How is the disease diagnosed?
Diagnosis of MS begins with a history and physical exam. There is
no test that can specifically diagnose MS. A cranial MRI may show damage to the
myelin coating in the brain. But some people with MS have a normal MRI.
tap may be done to obtain
cerebrospinal fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and
brain. The fluid is examined for evidence of immune system problems. An evoked
potential test studies electrical impulses. It can be done to look for slowing
of messages in different parts of the brain.
MS is sometimes diagnosed by ruling out all other possible
causes for the symptoms. The basic rule for diagnosing MS has two criteria:
two attacks of MS symptoms, at least 1 month apart
more than one area of damage to the myelin sheath of the nerve, without
evidence of other disease that could damage the myelin