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Multiple sclerosis could start long before diagnosis

Contrary to what specialists thought until now, it could therefore be that the years preceding the official diagnosis do not constitute what is called the phase prodromique of the disease, during which relatively mild warning symptoms herald the onset of the main phase of multiple sclerosis.

Visits to the doctor or hospital, add researchers at the Technical University of Munich, often involve symptoms resembling those of multiple sclerosis. It would therefore seem that the disease is already fully active, and not in preparation, even before the diagnosis.

This could make it possible to detect the disease more quickly, by identifying symptoms that might otherwise go unnoticed, and therefore initiate treatment sooner.

Technically, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis requires two distinct neurological events over time, specified by email Dr. Alexandre Prat, who is director of the department of neurosciences and holder of the Canada Research Chair in multiple sclerosis at the University of Montreal.

However, he continues, the two events could occur five or ten years apart. In addition, the first event (an episode of dizziness, tingling of the thumb or toe, erectile dysfunction lasting 48 hours) may be so mild that the patient will not remember it.

And sometimes it is only a few years after the diagnosis that the patient says that his mother reminded him that he had been to the doctor for one of these symptoms., added Dr Prat.

A good clinician should therefore insist and name all the possible symptoms of multiple sclerosis to identify the first event., he added.

A family doctor who sees a patient a little more often than they should, especially for symptoms that may resemble those of multiple sclerosis, should also have the instinct to look a little further.

But their training in neurology is very poor, wrote Dr Prat. Not even a mandatory month of neurology training in 7 years of training.

A dozen Canadians are reportedly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis every day, mostly between the ages of 20 and 49, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

The findings of this study are published by the prestigious medical journal Neurology.

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