Imaging of Central Nervous System Demyelinating Disorders

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Purpose of Review: This article focuses on neuroimaging in multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disorder encountered by practicing neurologists. Less common adult demyelinating disorders and incidental subclinical white matter abnormalities that are often considered in the differential diagnosis of MS are also reviewed.Recent Findings: Advancements in neuroimaging techniques, eg, the application of ultrahigh-field MRI, are rapidly expanding the use of neuroimaging in CNS demyelinating disorders. Probably the most important recent findings include the detection of cortical lesions and CNS atrophy even in early stages of MS. The key development for practicing neurologists is the growing impact of MRI on the diagnostic criteria for MS and neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorders.Summary: MRI serves as an important component of the diagnostic criteria for MS and other major CNS demyelinating disorders, and it has been established as a reliable and sensitive indicator of disease activity and progression. In addition, rapidly advancing neuroimaging techniques are helping to improve our understanding of disease pathogenesis.

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