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Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Multiple Sclerosis
  1. Olga Ciccarelli,
  2. David H. Miller
  1. NMR Unit, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK; Email: o.ciccarelli{at}


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become the primary technique with which neurologists support the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), and with which researchers monitor disease evolution in both natural history studies and treatment trials. This review summarises the contribution of brain and spinal cord MRI to the diagnosis of MS, illustrating the appearance of MS pathology on the most common MRI sequences. We also discuss the differences in MRI findings between the clinical types of MS and the development of newer non-conventional sequences.


The first application of MRI in MS was described in 1981. Since then, MRI of MS has rapidly evolved and new acquisition techniques, characterised by increased sensitivity and specificity with respect to pathology, have been developed. MRI is now an important paraclinical tool for the diagnosis of MS because it allows detection of MS lesions in vivo throughout

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