Woman going into an MRI machine multiple sclerosis and brain lesions

Lesion clue to help predict disability progression

Monitoring lesion expansion can predict disability progression in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) better than other types of lesions assessment, according to a new study.

MS is caused by inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, and the damage from this inflammation is visible on MRI scans as lesions. These can change in shape and size, new lesions can appear, and old ones can resolve.

Often, MS clinical trials count the number of new or enlarging lesions, but researchers found that looking specifically at enlargement may be the best predictor of long-term disability progression.

Data from 176 MS patients in a clinical trial that had monitored them for ten years was used. The researchers found that the amount of enlarging lesions seen on scans more accurately predicted two-year disability progression compared with increasing lesion count.