Nurse Joan shares the tests a woman will have if her doctor suspects she has MS.
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Joan Ohayon: Generally speaking, MRI scan and definitely a brain MRI scan, sometimes also a spinal cord MRI scan because the central nervous system which is where we see disease consists of the brain and the spinal cord. Often, a spinal tap will also be recommended and this is a spinal tap or a lumbar puncture allows us to study the cerebrospinal fluid which surrounds the brain and the spinal cord, so that we can get a better idea of what's going on. None of these tests are completely specific for MS although over the years we rely very heavily on the MRI scan and there is some cases where you look at the MRI scan and you say "I know that that's MS." But to make the diagnosis you really need to look at all the pieces and most important is the clinical history because MS is diagnosed by looking at dissemination of space in time in the central nervous system, so that somebody must have two different events separated in different areas of the central nervous system and at different time points. With the MRI scan we're now able to justify that second event even if somebody doesn't have it clinically if we see changes on the MRI scan. But when we come back to it no matter what we’re looking for dissemination in space and time in the central nervous system and we use the MRI scan, we use the cerebrospinal fluid and in some case Evoked Potentials, another procedure that allows us to look at nor signaling, we use these procedures to help support the diagnosis.