Got a letter and need help understanding it

The letter says ‘MRI showed two foci of high signal changes adjacent to left frontal horn with morphology of demyelination. MRI of the cervical spine showed disc bulges at c5/6 and of the lumbroscacral spine showed dehydrated L4/5 disc with modest anular bulging’. I had a LP but it doesn’t mention that. My appointment isn’t for ages, so would help if I understood it. Thanks.

Hi there,

The “foci of high signal changes…with morphology of demyelination” sound typical of what are more commonly called “lesions”. Although MS is one of the commonest causes of demyelinating lesions, it’s not the only one, so I’m afraid you’ll need to wait for appointment to find out whether your consultant believes it’s possible or probable MS, or whether he suspects a different cause.

Interestingly, your spinal scans are NOT suggestive of lesions from a demyelinating condition such as MS, but instead suggest there could be mechanical problems from one or more damaged or distorted vertebrae - which are often referred to as a “slipped disc”.

Sometimes, a slipped disc will press on the spinal cord, and cause symptoms similar to MS.

So your situation is not straightforward, because although you have brain lesions which might be suggestive of MS, you also have some mechanical abnormalities of your spine, which would NOT be caused by MS, but might produce similar symptoms.

Again, you’ll probably have to wait for your appointment, to find out which of these two scenarios your consultant thinks most relevant.

For some reason, it does seem more common for people with MS also to have structural abnormalities of the spine, or to have had spinal injury, or spinal surgery, at some point. However, at present, there’s no proof one causes the other. It’s possible some of your scan findings are purely incidental, and not contributing to your symptoms at all.


Thank you for that. The strange (but lucky) thing is I don’t actually have any symptoms at the moment. I went with a headache that turned out to be caused by my thyroid medication being wrong (it is autoimmune so changes) and first I find out I have one area of demylination and then they send me for a full scan and now I have something wrong with my spine too and another area of demylination. I know I should be glad that I’m ok, but I find it worrying that so much is showing up.