Identifying objective and disease-specific signs, called diagnostic criteria, to avoid delayed diagnosis is essential in improving treatment outcomes for people with MS.

The Multiple Sclerosis Journal has published a study carried out by Spanish researchers to evaluate the performance of the 2010 McDonald Criteria and to assess other predictive factors in patients without dissemination in space (DIS), in a large number of patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). DIS is the evidence of damage to at least two different parts of the central nervous system.


CIS describes a first clinical episode with features suggesting MS. CIS patients seen at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona, between 2001 and 2011 were selected. In this study, over 35 per cent of patients were diagnosed earlier when applying the 2010 McDonald Criteria. The other predictive factors used were lumbar puncture and patients’ age at onset.

The researchers saw that an age of onset below 40, inflammatory cerebrospinal fluid by lumbar puncture and presence of three or more lesions are highly specific for developing clinically definite MS.

MRI remains the most important tool for MS diagnosis and has become a key factor in the current diagnostic criteria.

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