Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the insulating myelin sheath surrounding the cells of the central nervous system is eroded, a process referred to as demyelination. Demyelination interferes with the ability of the neurons of the brain and spinal cord to communicate, and may present with physical, cognitive and possibly psychiatric symptoms.

Patients with MS can experience a variety of neurological symptoms depending on the location of the regions of demyelination, sometimes called lesions or plaques. The most common symptoms associated with MS include deficits of autonomic nervous system function, vision, motor control and sensory perception. MS is classified into multiple types depending on the fluctuation of symptom activity. The underlying cause of MS remains unclear. There are treatments which are modestly effective at improving functioning following an ‘attack’ and preventing a new episode. However these tend to be poorly tolerated and there is no known cure.

Macquarie MindScan will conduct a comprehensive investigation, integrating information acquired through neuroimaging and cognitive assessment to generate an informed diagnosis. Imaging with MRI is frequently required to assess whether abnormalities in the brain’s blood supply are causing the cognitive changes (e.g., strokes, or other deterioration affecting the “white matter” of the brain), or to rule out hydrocephalus or a tumour. Neuropsychology provides an assessment of brain function which complements the impression of brain structure provided by MRI. Such comprehensive cognitive testing can help pick up patterns of thinking change which help diagnose different kinds of underlying illness, and can indicate the degree of progression (a particularly useful source of information in people who are otherwise performing demanding roles, and may be showing subtle impairment). Neuropsychological review (usually after around one year) can track cognitive change over time, again informing diagnosis and potentially prognosis.

The patients of Macquarie MindScan receive the benefit of this unique collaboration of experts across multiple fields. The team at Macquarie MindScan are committed to sharing the knowledge acquired from current research techniques to generate an advance clinical examination for neurodegenerative and other neurological disorders.

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