People with radiologically isolated syndrome have 50% chance of developing MS

Published: 28 July 2020

Half of people with radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS) will go on to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study. RIS is a phenomenon where MS-like damage shows up on an MRI but the person has had no symptoms. 

Researchers conducted a 10-year follow-up of 451 people who had been described as having RIS, and found that 51.2% of them went on to develop MS. 

The study identified factors which increased the likelihood that a person would develop MS. These included having signs of spinal fluid proteins called oligoclonal bands, being of a younger age, having MRI lesions in the spinal cord or lower back part of the brain, and newly active lesions on follow-up MRI scans. 

Trials are now being conducted to determine if treating people who have RIS with disease-modifying drugs will delay or prevent the onset of MS.