Study finds that 1 in 5 people misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis had other unrelated conditions

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a widespread disabling neurological condition whereby the immune system attacks and destroys the fatty tissue that surrounds the nerves. This leads to nerve damage, which affects communication between the nerves and the brain.

People with MS may experience symptoms including numbness or weakness in the limbs, tremors and lack of coordination. However, some of the symptoms have similarities to other debilitating conditions, including stroke and migraines which also cause harm to the brain.

MS and Stroke are different conditions, although they share similar symptoms including attention issues, dizziness and numbness in the limbs, slurring, visual impairment and difficulty in walking. Migraine attacks also have symptoms in common, including dizziness and vision impairment.

Research has found that 72 of 110 patients diagnosed with MS actually had other conditions including migraine and fibromyalgia. The same study found that many of those misdiagnosed with MS, received treatment for 4 years before getting the correct diagnosis. Among those who received treatment for MS, 48% had received treatments that can lead to progressive multifocal leukpencephalopathy (PML), which is a viral infection that targets nerve cells and damages the white matter in the brain. The study will be published next month.

Chantae Clark, Paralegal in the Medical Negligence team at Ashtons Legal comments: “Sadly, we see many clients who have suffered medically, psychologically and financially from being misdiagnosed and from receiving treatment for diseases that they didn’t have. Meanwhile, they were not getting treatment for what they did have. The cost to both the patient and the NHS is detrimental. This research has highlighted the problem, now solutions need to be implemented to prevent MS misdiagnoses and other misdiagnoses in the future and to help improve diagnosis and treatments for those suffering with the disease.”


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