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Study of MS misdiagnosis may help improve diagnostic procedures

Multiple sclerosis is frequently misdiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. These symptoms can also vary from patient to patient. As for how frequently the condition goes unnoticed, this was the subject of a new study conducted by researchers at UCLA and the Cedars-Sinai Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center. Hawaii residents may be interested in the results.

Researchers looked at 241 cases of patients who were diagnosed with MS and referred to the UCLA or Cedars-Sinai MS clinic. After 12 months of analysis, they found that 18% of the patients had been misdiagnosed. Of these, 72% received MS treatment, and of these, 48% underwent therapies with the chance of developing dangerous side effects.

In particular, those 48% of treated patients were at a high risk for developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, an infection affecting the brain. The misdiagnosed patients underwent MS treatment for an average of four years before a correct diagnosis could be made.

MS can often be mistaken for migraines; 16% of misdiagnosed patients in this study were thought to have it. This was followed by 9% being misdiagnosed with radiologically isolated syndrome. Researchers believe their study can help improve procedures for MS diagnosis because it has identified the problem. Only a solution remains to be found.

Someone who has been misdiagnosed with MS and suffered from the side effects of unnecessary treatments may be eligible for compensation. Though MS diagnosis is tricky, this doesn't mean doctors are entirely free from blame when they misdiagnose someone. Filing a medical malpractice suit is complicated, though, so an individual who wishes to pursue one may want a lawyer by their side. Legal counsel could bring in medical experts and investigators to build up the case before proceeding.

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