Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Are Multiple Sclerosis Lesions?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions are areas of damage in the central nervous system where myelin, the protective sheath around nerve fibers, is eroded. This disrupts neural signals, causing varied symptoms. Visualized through MRI scans, these lesions appear as distinct, often inflamed, patches. Wondering how these lesions affect daily life and what treatments are available? Explore the impact and management of MS with us.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Multiple sclerosis lesions are scars that form in the central nervous system as a result of chronic inflammation. They are the tell-tale diagnostic sign associated with multiple sclerosis and the direct cause of the neurological symptoms associated with this disorder. Medical imaging studies such as MRIs can be used to spot lesions in a patient, and they can also be identified on biopsy or autopsy.

The term “multiple sclerosis” is a reference to the numerous scleroses, a medical term for the lesions associated with this condition, that develop in the nervous system of the patient. Also known as plaques, multiple sclerosis lesions develop as inflammation eats away at the protective myelin sheath that covers nerves. The inflammatory processes involved can be complex and are the result of autoimmune disease, where the body mistakenly identifies antigens on its own cells as evidence of foreign material in the body.

MRI brain scans can help physicians look for MS lesions.
MRI brain scans can help physicians look for MS lesions.

When the myelin is stripped away, it impairs nerve conduction. It is more difficult for the body to send signals through the damaged nerve and neurological symptoms like poor motor control, tremors, and slurred speech can develop. Multiple sclerosis can be a progressive disease, with the lesions growing worse over time and the symptoms also growing more severe as a result. Patients may ultimately require mobility aids and other assistive devices as their central nervous system impairments increase.

A person with multiple sclerosis may experience tremors in the hands and feet that make movement and grip difficult.
A person with multiple sclerosis may experience tremors in the hands and feet that make movement and grip difficult.

Research with the assistance of medical imaging has shown that many patients have what are known as silent lesions. These lesions do not cause clinical symptoms. The reasons some multiple sclerosis lesions cause symptoms while others do not remain mysterious, although researchers are certainly studying the issue. The central nervous system is complex, has some self-healing capabilities, and is not fully understood in its entirety, despite the amount of research that has been dedicated to understanding the brain and spinal cord.

Dizziness can be caused by a nerve lesion in the lower part of the brain, damage to nerves connected to the ears or other causes not related to multiple sclerosis.
Dizziness can be caused by a nerve lesion in the lower part of the brain, damage to nerves connected to the ears or other causes not related to multiple sclerosis.

If a doctor believes a patient is developing multiple sclerosis, medical imaging studies may be requested for diagnostic purposes. Imaging of multiple sclerosis lesions is also used as a way of monitoring the progression of the disease. Doctors will check for changes to lesions and the appearance of new lesions to learn more about how a patient's case is manifesting. Copies of old imaging studies will be kept in the patient file for future reference and patients can ask to see newer and older scans for comparison if they are interested.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • MRI brain scans can help physicians look for MS lesions.
      By: forestpath
      MRI brain scans can help physicians look for MS lesions.
    • A person with multiple sclerosis may experience tremors in the hands and feet that make movement and grip difficult.
      By: Simone van den Berg
      A person with multiple sclerosis may experience tremors in the hands and feet that make movement and grip difficult.
    • Dizziness can be caused by a nerve lesion in the lower part of the brain, damage to nerves connected to the ears or other causes not related to multiple sclerosis.
      By: designua
      Dizziness can be caused by a nerve lesion in the lower part of the brain, damage to nerves connected to the ears or other causes not related to multiple sclerosis.