Lisa Eunyoung Lee, MS, BSc: Myelin Water Imaging in the Spinal Cord


The research assistant at the University of British Columbia-Vancouver detailed the success of myelin water imaging in the spinal cords of both healthy controls and patients with multiple sclerosis.

“Using our advanced MRI technique, our team has shown that [myelin water imaging] is also robust when done in the spinal cord of healthy controls and disease pathology.”

The use of conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment is helpful for physicians in the qualitative measurements of MS such as the diagnosis of the disease, and its management and monitoring. Although, as with many tools, it comes with its limitations, which in turn leads to a lack of specificity in its measurements.

Lisa Eunyoung Lee, MS, BSc, a research assistant in the Division of Neurology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and a group of colleagues developed a quantitative MRI technique called myelin water imaging, intended for use in the study of neurological diseases such as MS and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. As such, the group is attempting to utilize this new technique to reconcile some of the limitations that are experienced with standard MRI—specifically in by measuring myelin abnormalities in the spinal cord.

At the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ACTRIMS) Forum in Dallas, Texas, Lee presented data on this technique’s assessment of cervical cord white matter in relapsing and progressive MS compared to healthy controls as well as to evaluate the correlation between it and clinical disability as measured by the timed 25-foot walk and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).

The team’s findings were suggestive that myelin damage may, in part, contribute to disability in progressive MS. Lee shared her insight with NeurologyLive® in an interview.


Lee LE, Dvorak AV, Abel S, et al. Myelin abnormality in the cervical spinal cord is associated with clinical disability in MS. Presented at: ACTRIMS Forum; February 28 to March 2, 2019; Dallas, TX. Poster #4184.

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