Symptoms and Diagnosis of Balo's Disease - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Symptoms and Diagnosis of Balo's Disease

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The symptoms of Balo’s disease vary depending on the areas of the brain that are affected, are similar to symptoms of MS, and can include:
  • Muscle spasms
  • Paralysis (loss of ability to move a part of the body)
  • Seizures
  • Cognitive loss (difficulty processing information, with memory or with executive functions)
  • Aphasia (difficulty speaking or understanding speech)
  • High fever
  • Headache

The process of diagnosis includes:

  • A medical history
  • A neurologic exam — a neurologist examines the person’s mobility, muscle strength, coordination, sensation, memory and thinking functions, speech and vision
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord to identify damage to these areas and to detect the distinctive pattern often seen in Balo’s disease.
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to examine the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be performed
  • Blood tests to detect possible infections
  • Evoked potential (EP) testing helps find lesions or damaged areas in the nerves, spinal cord, optic nerve or brainstem

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