Pattern recognition of the multiple sclerosis syndrome

Rana K. Zabad, Renee Stewart, Kathleen M. Healey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


During recent decades, the autoimmune disease neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), once broadly classified under the umbrella of multiple sclerosis (MS), has been extended to include autoimmune inflammatory conditions of the central nervous system (CNS), which are now diagnosable with serum serological tests. These antibody-mediated inflammatory diseases of the CNS share a clinical presentation to MS. A number of practical learning points emerge in this review, which is geared toward the pattern recognition of optic neuritis, transverse myelitis, brainstem/cerebellar and hemispheric tumefactive demyelinating lesion (TDL)-associated MS, aquaporin-4-antibody and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-antibody NMOSD, overlap syndrome, and some yet-to-be-defined/classified demyelinating disease, all unspecifically labeled under MS syndrome. The goal of this review is to increase clinicians’ awareness of the clinical nuances of the autoimmune conditions for MS and NMSOD, and to highlight highly suggestive patterns of clinical, paraclinical or imaging presentations in order to improve differentiation. With overlay in clinical manifestations between MS and NMOSD, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, orbits and spinal cord, serology, and most importantly, high index of suspicion based on pattern recognition, will help lead to the final diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 24 2017


  • AQP4 antibodies
  • Brainstem syndrome
  • Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)
  • MOG antibodies
  • MS
  • Optic neuritis
  • Transverse myelitis
  • Tumefactive demyelinating lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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