Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease affecting the central nervous system. It has an auto-immune origin in which the body’s own immune system attacks the myelin sheath of nerve fibers. This myelin sheath is a protective cover of the nerve and facilitates nerve conduction. Damage to the sheath results in disruption of conduction of nerve signals, which can produce a wide range of symptoms. The patient may present a single or combination of the symptoms listed below:
- Unsteadiness or instability
- Blurring or loss of vision
- Clumsiness or difficulty in coordination
- Slurring of speech
- Cognitive problems like difficulty in concentration and changes in memory
- MRI of the brain to detect the presence of plaques. The location of the plaques determines the staging of the disease.
- Evoked potential tests: Stimulation of nerve pathways to map electrical activity within the brain. The evoked potentials used are visual, sensory and brainstem.
- Spinal tap or lumbar puncture: This is done to check for auto-immune antibodies.
- Videonystagmography (VNG): This test uses infrared cameras to track eye movements during different tests. MS patients may present with various eye signs like spontaneous nystagmus, ogular flutter, difficulty in holding gaze, hyperventilation-induced nystagmus and direction changing nystagmus.