MRI can detect spinal cord function changes in multiple sclerosis: 5 things to know

Shayna Korol -  

Functional MRI can detect changes in resting-state spinal cord function in multiple sclerosis patients, according to research published in Brain.

Here are five things to know.

1. MS affects an estimated 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.5 million people worldwide, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Patients with MS present with focal lesions throughout the spinal cord.

2. Researchers at the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science in Nashville used an ultra-high field (seven tesla) MRI scanner, which detected slight differences in the functional connectivity of 22 patients with relapsing-remitting MS' spinal cords compared to healthy controls.

3. The differences were most pronounced where there were visible lesions.

4. This is the first study to noninvasively demonstrate that the presence of a lesion is correlated with altered spinal cord neurological activity. However, high-quality measures of functional connectivity from healthy spinal cords may be obtainable with a three-tesla scanner.

5. Most MRI scanners generate a magnetic field strength in the range of three tesla, Medical Xpress reports.

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