- Any disease where myelin, the protective covering of the nerve cells is damaged.
- Injury or loss of the myelin that surrounds nerve fibers and the primary cause of the symptoms associated with a demyelinating disease
Evoked potential (EP) testing
- Recordings of the nervous system’s electrical response to the stimulation of specific sensory pathways (e.g., visual, auditory, general sensory). Because damage to myelin (demyelination) results in a slowing of response time, EPs can sometimes provide evidence of scarring along nerve pathways that does not show up during the neurologic exam.
Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
- A fine needle is passed carefully into the spinal canal to allow a sample of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF) to be withdrawn for examination.
- Layer of insulation composed of lipids (fats) that surround the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- A test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body.
- Characterized by clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function, followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), during which symptoms improve.
- Characterized by steady worsening of neurologic functioning, without any distinct relapses. Depending on the diagnosis, a progressive disorder may move quickly or slowly.
- The partial or complete disappearance of the symptoms of a disease. Remission may be spontaneous or the result of treatment. In some cases remission is permanent, and the disease is cured.