Novel MRI approaches to assess patients with multiple sclerosis

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review summarizes novel MRI approaches for the investigation of lesion burden and understanding of the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Recent findings

Recent technical advances are improving our ability to detect and define the nature of focal lesions and ‘diffuse’ tissue damage in MS as well as the functional consequences of such structural abnormalities. New contrast agents allow to monitor the pluriformity of MS inflammation. Double inversion recovery sequences enable us to detect and monitor the evolution of MS lesions in the cortex. High and ultra-high field scanners are improving imaging of MS-related abnormalities at an unprecedented resolution. Furthermore, this new generation of scanners has the potential to ameliorate structural and functional MR studies of the disease. All of this has contributed, and is likely to continue to contribute, to the definition of the factors associated with the development of irreversible disability in MS. Finally, new analysis methods have allowed to track regional disease-related changes and are resulting in an increased correlation between MRI and clinical deficits.

Summary

Novel MR approaches highlighted previously unrecognized or neglected aspects of MS pathophysiology, which are likely to improve our understanding of the heterogeneous clinical manifestations of this condition.

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