Courtesy of Intermountain Medical Imaging, Boise,
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease of the
central nervous system, specifically involving the brain, spinal cord, and
optic nerves. The brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves are connected to one
another by nerve fibers. A protein coating called myelin surrounds and protects
the nerve fibers. Myelin can become inflamed or damaged. This is called
demyelination. In MS, immune cells from blood vessels enter the brain, spinal
cord, or optic nerves and cause areas of inflammation, demyelination, and nerve
damage. These damaged areas are called lesions or plaques.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field
and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures
inside the body. For an MRI test, the area of the body being studied is placed
inside a special machine that has a strong magnet. MRI can be used to look for
problems in the brain, such as lesions or plaques caused by MS.
February 15, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
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