The misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is a problem with significant consequences for patients as well as the healthcare system.There are nearly 1 million people in the United States living with the disease.And researchers now say nearly 20 percent of them are misdiagnosed. Most of them had another condition but had been treated for MS for years.
“The diagnosis of MS is tricky. Both the symptoms and MRI testing results can look like other conditions, such as stroke, migraines, and vitamin B-12 deficiency,” Dr. Marwa Kaisey, a specialist in neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and a co-lead investigator of the study, said in a statement to Healthline. “You have to rule out any other diagnoses, and it’s not a perfect science.”
The study looked at 241 patients across three campuses and will be published in the May issue of the peer-reviewed journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.Kaisey, along with co-lead investigator Dr. Nancy Sicotte, interim chair of neurology and director of the Cedars-Sinai Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center, and researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Vermont, analyzed patients who had been diagnosed by other physicians and then referred to the Cedars-Sinai or UCLA multiple sclerosis clinics over the course of a year.