Anatomical Distribution of Central Nervous System Plaques in Multiple Sclerosis: An Iranian Experience
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) begins most commonly in young adults and is characterized by multiple areas of Central Nervous System (CNS) white matter inflammation, demyelination and glial scarring. The most valuable laboratory aid for diagnosing MS is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). An advanced type of MRI that exploits molecular diffusion can detect acute and active lesions. Early diagnosis and onset of treatment help to hinder disease progression. The aim of this study was to compare the findings of conventional and Diffusion-Weighted (DW) MRI in assessing the cerebral lesions of MS patients. Thirty patients with clinically definite MS (mean age 32.76 +/- 8.79 years) and an age- and sex-matched control group of 30 healthy volunteers (mean age 32.75 +/- 9.23 years) were enrolled in this 12 month descriptive-prospective survey. Both groups were subjected to conventional and DW MRI and were compared in respect of the total number, morphology, location and the mean size of the intra-cerebral MS plaques. The sensitivities and specificities of both imaging methods in detecting these plaques were determined. The conventional method revealed significantly more plaques within the brain (p < 0.05) and showed more ovoid lesions. More lesions were detected by the conventional method in the periventricular area, centrum semiovale and corpus callosum. The minimum plaque size was significantly lower in the conventional method group. The sensitivity of both methods was 100%. The specificities of conventional and DW MRI were 86.6 and 96.6%, respectively, so DW MRI may detect lesions that are not obvious by routine methods.
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