I need help understand what this means. I will be meeting with my neurologist soon but I wanted to see if anyone could give me some answers as to what they meant when they read my MRI. First let me say, I have many symptoms of MS - muscle weakness in arms and legs (comes and goes), twitching all over body, numbness in left arm and left foot, hyperreflexia, hearing loss, tinnitus, itchy, buzzing sensation in my left leg, fatigue, dizziness/tipsy (have bruises on my legs from running into things), pretty bad memory loss/brain fog, tingling all over in legs muscles when I walk more than 1/4 mile or so, cold sensation on top of head, and heat sensitivity (makes symptoms feel worse), feel shaky on the inside of my body sometimes, depression/anxiety. I had some headaches for a couple of weeks, but I've never had a migraine.
Next - Here is what my MRI report said. This is where I'm confused, especially the part that says "This is an atypical pattern for demyelinating disease". Here is the whole report...
1. There are nonspecific bifrontal subcortical cerebral deep
white matter small 2 mm T2 hyperintense foci as discussed
above. This is an atypical pattern for demyelinating disease.
Primary consideration would include a remote ischemic or
inflammatory insult. Possibly sequela of chronic migraine
disease. If there is further concern for demyelinating disease,
would recommend correlation with CSF analysis.
As Tammy said, the radiologist who reviewed your MRI doesn't seem to think demyelination is the cause of your lesions. Her/his impression is that they +were more likely caused by some undetermined inflammation, migraines or ischemia, which is a restriction of blood flow.
CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) will provide more information. To test your CSF they need to get a sample via lumbar puncture (LP, spinal tap). Are you scheduled for an LP?
Atypical findings on a MRI for MS basically means that the areas of your white matter lesions are not typical for MS, but does not exclude it entirely. Meaning, clinical findings during examination by Neuro and "multifocal or monofocal" neurological events, as well as diagnostic testing such as "lumbar puncture" along with laboratory tests (thyroid, B12 deficiency, lupus, etc.) may suggest MS or may steer away from it.
An abnormal MRI does not necessarily mean you have MS. There are many causes and the list is long that could do so.
Basically, it is my understanding that there's about four major causes (could be more): such as:
infection (such as viral or bacterial),
metabolic (such as B12 deficiency),
demyelinating process (such as MS but are other processes)
and vascular (such as hypertension).
There are many MS mimicks that can give you the sensations and/or symptoms you're experiencing.
Most MRI reports of this type of nature will state the same thing at the end for impressions.
I know my first time reading that on my report sent me right to here. :)
And I'm not diagnosed with MS by the way.
So take a deep breath, you will eventually get down to the bottom of your concerns and why you're going through what you're going through. Some people take years to get to that point and some take weeks to months. I can't promise you would be the latter. So strap yourself in and just make sure you spend more time living and enjoying the things you love and do (when you can).
Tammy gives excellent advice and perspective on this.
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