The Importance of Localization in Addressing Misdiagnosis in Multiple Sclerosis: Aliza Ben-Zacharia, PhD, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN


The assistant professor at Hunter College discussed the importance of using a systematic approach to localization and thorough consideration of clinical symptoms to enhance diagnostic accuracy and reduce misdiagnosis in multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“I think sometimes patients always think everything is MS, everything is related. But I think in this era, when we talk about diagnosis and misdiagnosis, localization can refine this. It can make us better in our diagnostic accuracy, and hopefully, minimize some misdiagnosis.”

Having an early diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is critical to the optimization of long-term outcomes among patients living with the disease. Over the last 2 decades, there has been a continued effort to update and improve the diagnostic process of MS to allow for an earlier diagnosis.1 Despite this effort, multiple studies over the last decade have showcased the frequent occurrence of misdiagnosis in MS. With the variety of clinical presentations, broad differential diagnosis for symptoms, and diagnostic tests with high sensitivity but limited specificity, a timely and accurate diagnosis of MS remains a challenge.

Recently, at the 2023 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, held May 31 to June 3, in Aurora, Colorado, Aliza Ben-Zacharia, PhD, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN, assistant professor at Hunter College, presented in a clinical workshop on clinical pearls and the spinal cord in MS.2 In another presentation at the meeting, Andrew Solomon, MD, gave a talk on the misdiagnosis of MS, the reasons for misdiagnosis, and how to improve the accuracy of this process as part of the John F. Kurtzke Memorial Lecture.3

At the meeting, Ben-Zacharia sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® to discuss how using a systematic approach to localization can help reduce misdiagnosis in MS cases. She also talked about why it is crucial for clinicians to consider alternative diagnoses when patients present with resembling signs of MS. In addition, she explained how collaboration with colleagues and experts aids in addressing questions about disease localization in neurology.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2023.

1. Brownlee WJ, Solomon AJ. Misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis: Time for action. Mult Scler. 2021;27(6):805-806. doi:10.1177/13524585211005367
2. Ben-Zacharia A. Introduction and Clinical Pearls. Presented at: 2023 CMSC Annual Meeting; held May 31-June 3; Aurora, CO. CC4.
3. Solomon A. MS Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis: Challenges and Progress. Presented at: 2023 CMSC Annual Meeting; May 31-June 3; Aurora, CO. LEC1.
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