Multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions can occur throughout the central nervous system (CNS) and can lead to MS symptoms and relapses. MS can also impact the volume of brain matter, which is important to understand if you’re living with the disease.
Lesions in the central nervous system
MS lesions can occur in all three parts of the CNS—the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. These lesions interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body and have an impact both physically and cognitively.
central nervous system + Lesions
There are two types of brain matter—and lesions can occur in both
Lesions can change over time
Lesions often progress over time. That’s why identifying them early and monitoring them regularly are important. This progress is monitored by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. These scans produce three kinds of images.
Decreases in brain matter and why it matters
As we age, we all lose brain matter (both white and grey) naturally. For people with MS, this decrease in brain matter (also called brain volume loss) may happen more quickly.
Both white matter and grey matter can be damaged by MS, resulting in brain volume loss. Research now shows that the decrease in the volume of grey matter may help predict long-term physical disability and cognitive changes. Cognitive changes caused by MS may include worsening of memory, difficulty concentrating, or trouble thinking of the right word. Be sure to talk to your MS healthcare team to learn more.