Daniel Ontaneda, MD, PhD: Diagnosing MS With the Central Vein Sign


The staff neurologist at the Mellen Center for MS at Cleveland Clinic spoke about the potential for the central vein sign to help address issues of misdiagnosis in multiple sclerosis

“We think it has the potential to really help us with the question of misdiagnosis and to just simplify the diagnosis [of MS] overall.”

Unfortunately, a challenge in multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment that still persists is misdiagnosis. One of the reasons for this is the presence of lesions in the brain—a trademark of the disease—can occur even in patients who do not have MS. Although, there is work being done to help address this problem, which can impact physicians across the country.

Research has shown that the majority of lesions present in patients with MS have a small but detectable vein running through their center. This vein can be imaged successfully with a recently developed technique involving magnetic resonance imaging. Now, researchers are seeking to validate this central vein sign, which has shown to be both quick and affordable, as a means of differentiating patients with MS from those without.

Daniel Ontaneda, MD, is one of the staff neurologists at the Mellen Center for MS at Cleveland Clinic working on this technology. He noted that a prospective study of the central vein sign is still needed. But, a trial is actually ongoing, and he shared the details of the initial pilot study with NeurologyLive in an interview at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) 2019 Forum in Dallas, Texas.

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