The use of quantitative magnetic-resonance-based techniques to monitor the evolution of multiple sclerosis

Lancet Neurol. 2003 Jun;2(6):337-46. doi: 10.1016/s1474-4422(03)00408-3.


Conventional MRI can improve accuracy in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and monitor the efficacy of experimental treatments. However, conventional MRI provides only gross estimates of the extent and nature of tissue damage associated with this disease. Other quantitative magnetic-resonance-based techniques have the potential to overcome the limitations of conventional MRI and, as a consequence, to improve our understanding of the natural history of MS. Magnetisation-transfer, diffusion-weighted, and functional MRI--as well as proton magnetic-resonance spectroscopy--are helping us to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie injury, repair, and functional adaptation in patients with MS. These techniques are substantially changing our understanding of how MS causes irreversible disability and should be used more extensively in clinical trials and in studies of disease progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods
  • Weights and Measures