Multiple Sclerosis Community
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469934 tn?1333138882

New Seeker

Hi Everyone

I'm a 45-year-old wife and mother.  Up until 2008, I took care of my family and home, worked fulltime, volunteered, continued my education and had a very happy and very active life.  I've been sick for a while now with a lot of different symptoms but testing hasn't provided many answers.  My Neurologist recently sent me to a Specialist at a teaching hospital for a second opinion.  The Specialist suspects Multiple Sclerosis but mine, like so many others, isn't a cut-and-dried case.  I'm afraid of an M. S. diagnosis but I'm even more afraid of remaining undiagnosed for another three years.  The Specialist is scheduling Evoked Potential Testing and a new brain MRI.  How can I ensure that the Evoked Potential Test is as accurate as possible or do they generally provide instructions prior to the test?  I definitely don't want a false positive.  Does EPT follow the same process as an Electroencephalogram, where it's totally involuntary?  I've read some of your past posts and they're helpful; thank you!  Still, many people have "normal" EPT results and I just don't understand how tests can be "normal" when there is clearly something wrong.  Any insight or comments from others who have experienced a delayed diagnosis would be appreciated.  Are there any tests that can eliminate an M. S. diagnosis?  I've held off on researching M. S. because there's no point in scaring myself silly if it's a non-issue.  Also, I'm exhausted much of the time and surfing and reading aren't easy anymore.

Thank you so much for your forum and for your time!  I appreciate it.  All the best,

4 Responses
1453990 tn?1329235026
Evoked potential tests are involuntary.  They measure the conduction velocity to brain centers.  Even in People with MS (PwMS), they can be normal.  Visually Evoked Potentials tets from the retina to the optic cortex.  BAERs test from the ears to the auditory processing center,  SSEPs test from the extremities to the brain stem..  If you don't have demyelination in these areas, the test will typically be normal.

469934 tn?1333138882
Thanks, Bob!  I appreciate you taking the time to post a response.  All the best to you and yours,

Avatar universal
Hi, Sam, and welcome to the forum!

Bob is right--there's no way you can voluntarily or involuntarily influence the outcome of these tests. They are what they are. You certainly can have MS and still have normal readings on evoked potentials, because they just measure responses from specific areas, which may or may not have nerve damage.

I got an abnormal outcome from VEP regardling my right eye; otherwise everything was fine. Optic nerve problems are the most commonly found in EP testing, although eye examinations may look normal. It's a complex sort of thing.

As to whether there are tests that rule out MS, that's another complicated thing. There are tests that point away from MS and to other autoimmune disorders, particularly rheumatolgical diseases. For instance, an abnormal ANA outcome (blood test). A positive Lyme disease result would make MS unlikely, though symptoms can be similar. Low B12 is another indicator. There are lots of other MS mimics that also need to be ruled out.

But there's no test that says in bold letters, You Don't Have MS. Many doctors will declare this to be true on the basis of negative MRI imaging, though the criteria agreed upon for MS diagnosis (McDonald, revised), don't require MRIs at all.

So there's no easy way through this process. I hope you don't have MS, but I also urge you to keep pursuing an answer to whatever started you looking in the first place. It can be a long road, as so many here can testify.

We are here to help with answers to questions you may have, so please feel free.


469934 tn?1333138882
Hi Ess:

Thank you so much for the kind welcome and the information.  It's such a relief to know it's an involuntary test and I'm sure it will finally give me some answers.  

All the best to you and yours; take care of yourselves and each other,

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