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Symptoms and Diagnosis of Balo's Disease


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