Medical science does some incredible things. We recently heard a story about a new kind of MRI (magnetic resonance imagining) scan that led to a breakthrough for a woman with multiple sclerosis (MS), and helped alleviate some of her symptoms. The MRI was developed by the FONAR Corporation. Unlike a traditional MRI scan, which forces patients to lie down, the FONAR UPRIGHT® MRI scans patients in a variety of positions: sitting, reclining, standing, bending, etc. This type of scan “allows all parts of the body to be imaged with the normal weight of your body on the spine and other joints,” as opposed to creating images from only the recumbent position.
The MS patient was suffering from nausea and vertigo, even when she laid down. Her doctors, upon completing the scan with the UPRIGHT device, noticed that “Misaligned cervical vertebrae in the patient (specifically, the vertebrae in the neck known as C-1, C-2, and C3) were causing blockage of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid,” according to a recent news release. The fluid was then leaking into her brain, causing lesions. Doctors were able to realign the vertebrae, which allowed the CSF to move normally. As a result, “the patient reported that her severe vertigo and vomiting in the recumbent (lying down) position had ceased and that her stumbling from unequal leg length had disappeared.”
Fighting for a cure
MS is one of those particularly insidious diseases. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society describes it as an immune-mediated process, wherein a person’s central nervous system attacks the nerve fibers and their fatty insulation (called myelin). This causes scarring, and disrupts the impulses that travel from the nerves to the brain, and vice versa. There is no cure for MS, and its symptoms can vary between patients.
Vertigo and gait problems, like those suffered by the woman we wrote about above, are two of the more common symptoms. Others include:
- Incontinence or constipation
- Changes in vision
- Changes in mood, including depression
- Problems with cognitive function
- Sexual dysfunction
- Pain, either episodic or chronic
People diagnosed with MS face a world of uncertainty; how long will they live? How will their bodies betray them next? Can their symptoms be alleviated? When will the next relapse occur? While doctors are able to offer some treatments that may modify the course a person’s disease will take (to varying degrees of success), the truth is that people with multiple sclerosis will most likely die from it.
That is what makes this story about the MRI scan such a silver lining. If we cannot cure the disease – yet – then at least we have a new tool in our arsenal for helping to lessen some of the more pervasive symptoms and effects, giving patients an opportunity to live a fuller life.
If you or someone you love is suffering with multiple sclerosis, there are resources out there to help you. You can call the National MS Society at 800.344.4867 or contact them online.
Crandall & Pera Law supports the efforts of those who wish to put an end to MS permanently. We are a leading medical malpractice firm serving Ohio and Kentucky. To learn more about our services, or to speak with an experienced attorney, please call out Kentucky team at 877.651.7764, our Ohio team at 877.686.8879, or fill out our contact form.