Localization and Puzzling Together the Bigger Picture in Multiple Sclerosis: Aliza Ben-Zacharia, PhD, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN


The assistant professor at Hunter College emphasized the important role of localization and accurately identifying the origin of neurological symptoms when diagnosing and managing multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 7 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 7 minutes

"We know about the anatomy of the brain and the spinal cord, those are basics, but I think we learn to address it better and to take the important pieces of every point and try to fit it to a clinical presentation."

Multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory demyelinating disease, typically results in the formation of brain lesions that may cause various debilitating effects for patients with the condition. To date, the usage of MRI has allowed investigators to explore the occurrence patterns of these lesions. Thus, studies have shown that the nature of the resulting disabilities depends heavily on the location of lesions in the brain. In a prior study, researchers demonstrated a successful history of lesion localization, in particular, an association between lesion load and disability score using standard linear regression at every voxel.1

Aliza Ben-Zacharia, PhD, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN, assistant professor at Hunter College Bellevue School of Nursing, presented a talk on clinical pearls and the spinal cord in a session on neuroanatomy in MS at the 2024 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, held May 29 to June 1, in Nashville, Tennessee. Following Ben-Zacharia’s presentation, Stephen Krieger, MD, FAAN, associate professor of neurology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, touched upon the brainstem and cranial. During the meeting, Ben-Zacharia also participated as a panelist for a discussion on trends in the neurology workforce and spoke in another session on tips for nurse practitioners looking to open their own practice.

At the meeting, Ben-Zacharia, a nurse practitioner in New York City, sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® to discuss how localization can aid clinicians in determining the appropriate diagnostic tests for patients with MS. In addition, Ben-Zacharia, who also serves as an assistant professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, spoke about the key differences between symptoms localized in the brain versus the spinal cord. Furthermore, she explained the importance of considering both contralateral and ipsilateral symptoms when assessing neurological damage in patients.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2024.

1. Eloyan A, Shou H, Shinohara RT, et al. Health effects of lesion localization in multiple sclerosis: spatial registration and confounding adjustment. PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e107263. Published 2014 Sep 18. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107263
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