Health A-Z

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Diagnosis

Your doctor will look for signs of neurological problems. These include:

  • Decrease in the sharpness (acuity) of your vision

  • Your eyes not working in a coordinated way

  • Difficulty walking

  • Difficulty coordinating body movements

  • Muscle weakness on one side or in one part of your body

  • Trembling hands

  • Loss of sensation

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor probably will order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. The MRI will check for inflammation and myelin sheath destruction in your brain and spinal cord.

Other possible diagnostic tests include:

  • A detailed eye examination by an ophthalmologist.

  • Special tests called evoked potentials. These tests record electrical activity in the brain.

  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to obtain spinal fluid. Spinal fluid may show abnormal types of proteins called immunoglobulins. This is a characteristic finding in MS.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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