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Imaging of the Spinal Cord in Multiple Sclerosis: Past, Present, Future

By: Karen Holzberger, President & CEO of SpinTech MRI

Author(s): Yongsheng Chen 1 , Ewart Mark Haacke 1,2 and Evanthia Bernitsas
Journal: Brain Sciences
Published: 2020
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Spinal cord imaging in multiple sclerosis (MS) plays a significant role in diagnosing and tracking disease progression. The spinal cord is one of four key areas of the central nervous system where documenting the dissemination in space in the McDonald criteria for diagnosing MS.

Spinal cord lesion load and the severity of cord atrophy are believed to be more relevant to disability than white matter lesions in the brain in different phenotypes of MS. Axonal loss contributes to spinal cord atrophy in MS and its degree correlates with disease severity and prognosis. Therefore, measures of axonal loss are often reliable biomarkers for monitoring disease progression.

With recent technical advances, more and more qualitative and quantitative MRI techniques have been investigated in an attempt to provide objective and reliable diagnostic and monitoring biomarkers in MS. In this article, we discuss the role of spinal cord imaging in the diagnosis and prognosis of MS. Additionally, we review various techniques that may improve our understanding of the disease.

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