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Multiple Sclerosis Message Board

Multiple Sclerosis Board Index

Im not entirely clear why you titled your post MS and clusters....Clusters are a word which can mean two things in the neurological world..

Cluster headaches, which are rare but extremely painful- are treated by neurologists....clusters of Lesions are lesions which are all in the exact same place, without any space between them. Whether you have 4 or 5, you do not have a cluster, unless the idea is they are all clustered together in the same region of your brain. Thats possible.

I have over 55 lesions on my brain. At one time, so many of them were so close together, that they were not countable....years later, that section of my brain now shows up as what is known as a black hole on my MRI. Thats really scary- hearing that you have a black hole And, thats exactly what it looks like. Instead of having a bunch of glowing things, I now have a black area..what happened is the brain tissue can no longer support the number of lesions (scars) which were there, and it basically disintegrated. It didnt do me any harm, as by this time, my brain had rewired itself to not use that area anyway.

You asked where lesions are in relation to MS. They can be anywhere in the brain and most usually the Cspine or brain stem and also behind the eyes...they can also appear lower in the spine in the thoracic or lumbar. There is no rhyme or reason to where they appear. A lesion is a scar. When the body attacks itself, it is attacking the myelin sheathe of the nerve...if it damages the nerve, you will have a symtom. If the damage is severe, the nerve will NOT regenerate and the symtom is for life....permanent nerve damage. If the damage isnt terribly severe it may inhibit the signal that the nerve sends, thus causing some on and off issues....where the damage occurs, is where the lesion, or scar is seen. These do not always appear with a regular MRI, which is why contrast is used. Then, they glow "white" under contrast...remember that MS is a disease of the central nervous system, the brain, spine and eyes so attacks which happen on your brain, can affect things like your hands..but then, so can a pinched nerve and carpal tunnel- making it even harder to diagnose. If an attack happens on the eyes, it can cause optical neuritis, swelling of the optic nerve, also a painful condition which can affect the peripheral vision and also the color blindness of one's eye. When the attack is happening, or very shortly afterwards- IV steroids (IV Solumedrol) is the drug of choice because it reduces the swelling and usually elminates pain and doesnt "cure" anything, but makes life much easier to handle....of course steroids come with their own problems. They are terrible for your bones, the more you use them the less they work, and they give you mood swings and hunger attacks! You dont want to overuse steroids, but use them only when absolutely necessary.

Obands is something I want to touch on. An elevated Oband can mean that you have an autoimmune disease, but there is no Oband test for MS...and 15% of MSers do not have elevated Obands. Many of us here have reported that we tested negatively for Obands but definately have a MS diagnosis. The revised McDonald criteria does not consider OBands as part of the requirements for having MS.......doctors still do the test, because elevated Obands can point them in the direction of an autoimmune disease.

Also keep in mind MS presents like 400 other get a dx, you have to rule all of them out. Fortunately, many of them are found with simple blood work. Things like Lupus, Rhumatoid Arthritis, and even Lymes have to be ruled out....a good doctor can do this. When you find that a person is going from doctor to doctor and not getting anwers they usually are not using a MS specailist, which is crucial to the diagnosis phase, but not crucial, once a patient is diagnosed and reaches stability. I have both a MS specialist and a regular Neuro....I hate my MS specailist and adore my regular Neuro.

Make sure your MRI is with and without contrast or its pointless.....and good for you for seeing a MS specialist in April. Thats not too far away. Let us know what he says! Welcome to healthboards and let us know what else we can help you with.

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