MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

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MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:30 pm

Hi all,
I'm new to the forum, so excuse me if I'm not suppose to post here... but I'm a 33 yr old female, active lifestyle, non-smoker, and I've been having on/off symptoms now for about 4 yrs. My symptoms are annoying, off/on and just all around frustrating. I've done so many tests/scans that I could keep going on and on about them. I won't bore people with them, as I'm sure some of you have been or are in my shoes where you keep going to the doctors, and they find NOTHING wrong, but you keep having all of these symptoms, so you keep requesting tests to see if ANYTHING would come up (even though you do not want anything). My symptoms are swaying/feeling as though I'm floating sensations when I'm standing/walking/talking/eating/watching tv... anything! I do not have vertigo where the room is spinning, but rather it feels like I am the one that is spinning. This takes place all throughout the day... it doesn't necessarily get better or worse... some days it feels as though my head is heavy. I recently got an MRI scan without contrast and it came back with no lesions. I'm still constantly getting the symptoms daily. If I received this MRI that was done w/out contrast, would they have been able to diagnose MS? I have been diagnosed with TMJ (I haven't yet seen a specialist, IBS, allergies (I do use flonase and sometimes a nasal decongestant)... this whole time I thought maybe it was my allergies or maybe TMJ? But I just wanted to know if that MRI that I had would've shown MS?

Thanks for your responses and time!
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:31 pm

I'm going to also add, I don't really have any other symptoms... its just a "drunk" type feeling...
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby centenarian100 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:33 pm

Most but not all people with multiple sclerosis will have demyelinating lesions in the brain on a 1.5 tesla or stronger field strength MRI without contrast. Contrast dye (gadolinium) enters lesions which are active with breakdown of the blood-brain-barrier which "enhances" the lesions, but these lesions would generally be T2 bright and visible on a non-contrast scan. In other words, it isn't particularly likely that doing an MRI brain with contrast would show lesions which were not visible on the non-contrast scan.

Hopefully you do not have multiple sclerosis, and your symptoms will resolve on their own.

Some quick questions:

1) Does your symptom worsen when you stand up from a lying or seated position?
2) is it worse with head movement?
3) Do you have low blood pressure?
4) Do you have tinnnitis? (ringing in the ears)?
5) Do you have ear fullness?
6) Have you been ill lately?
7) How long have you had this symptom, and for how long does it last?
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby euphoniaa » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:59 pm

pbjelly12 wrote: I recently got an MRI scan without contrast and it came back with no lesions. I'm still constantly getting the symptoms daily. If I received this MRI that was done w/out contrast, would they have been able to diagnose MS?

I have been diagnosed with TMJ (I haven't yet seen a specialist, IBS, allergies (I do use flonase and sometimes a nasal decongestant)... this whole time I thought maybe it was my allergies or maybe TMJ?

But I just wanted to know if that MRI that I had would've shown MS?


Hi pbjelly12 and welcome, although I'm sorry you have reasons to be here! I'm glad that you at least have doctors working to try to figure this out, however. My main purpose for posting is to answer your specific question about whether lesions show up without using the contrast medium and I have to answer with a definite YES. And centenarian100 gave a good explanation of the contrast dye.

I was diagnosed with definite MS the day after my very first MRIs of brain & C-spine -- without contrast -- ordered by a physiatrist, or rehabilitation specialist, who thought he detected issues with my Central Nervous System & reflexes from a general exam. My only complaint at the time was a slight tremor in one finger. EMG tests confirmed carpal tunnel and likely HNPP (a hereditary peripheral neuropathy like my dad), but the MRIs showed my brain was jammed full of classic MS lesions. Keep in mind that MS only affects the CNS (brain, spinal cord, optic nerve), and all the other nerves in the body (like for carpal tunnel) make up your Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).

Another point to consider: Did they do MRIs of your spine also? MS often shows up as lesions in the C-spine or even lower.

Also, I have allergies and can't take decongestants & allergy meds at all due to their side effects. Can you stop them and test whether it makes a difference?

Here's a link to a thread where I post quite a few pics of my lesion-stuffed brain, the kind of brain that gives an "instant diagnosis" without gadolinium contrast. :smile:
general-discussion-f1/topic16335.html

Good luck and keep us posted!
Dx'd with MS & HNPP (hereditary peripheral neuropathy) 7/03 but must have had MS for 30 yrs before that. I've never taken meds for MS except 1 yr experiment on LDN. (I found diet, exercise, sleep, humor, music help me the most.)
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:31 pm

centenarian100 wrote:Most but not all people with multiple sclerosis will have demyelinating lesions in the brain on a 1.5 tesla or stronger field strength MRI without contrast. Contrast dye (gadolinium) enters lesions which are active with breakdown of the blood-brain-barrier which "enhances" the lesions, but these lesions would generally be T2 bright and visible on a non-contrast scan. In other words, it isn't particularly likely that doing an MRI brain with contrast would show lesions which were not visible on the non-contrast scan.

Hopefully you do not have multiple sclerosis, and your symptoms will resolve on their own.

Some quick questions:

1) Does your symptom worsen when you stand up from a lying or seated position?
2) is it worse with head movement?
3) Do you have low blood pressure?
4) Do you have tinnnitis? (ringing in the ears)?
5) Do you have ear fullness?
6) Have you been ill lately?
7) How long have you had this symptom, and for how long does it last?


thanks for the response... here are my answers to your questions
1) Does your symptom worsen when you stand up from a lying or seated position?Seems like I have different feelings when I'm sitting to when I'm standing/walking. I have a swaying feeling when i'm sitting (almost like I'm not getting enough oxygen to my brain), and then when I'm standing/walking it feels like I'm fainty... almost like a floaty unbalanced feeling.
2) is it worse with head movement?sometimes it feels that way
3) Do you have low blood pressure?no, my blood pressure is normal... I even take it at home just to make sure... most of my results have been fine
4) Do you have tinnnitis? (ringing in the ears)?no,ringing in the ears
5) Do you have ear fullness?not that I'm aware of.
6) Have you been ill lately?Yes, I had a sinus cold for about 2 weeks... just got over it last week
7) How long have you had this symptom, and for how long does it last? I have had these symptoms off/on for about 4 years now... I've gotten so many blood tests done, scans, mri's, ct scans, x-rays.. you name it I have probably done it. I thought maybe my woozy-ness was due to my sinuses, but I have been to an ENT specialist and she never found anything (no polyps, nothing). I have been to a cardiologist and received holter monitors, and she came back with saying I have some extra heartbeats, but otherwise just stated that my heart is completely normal/healthy...everyday i wake up not knowing how I am going to feel. It usually starts from when i wake up to when i go to bed... its on/off all day. :cry:
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby want2bike » Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:58 am

People get diagnose without the use of contrast dye. Gadolinium (the dye) is toxic and might harm you. It is a risk you do not need to take. Just because you have the symptoms of MS does not mean you have MS. In my case I had symptoms of MS but think my problem was with my teeth. I started a detox program and all my symptoms went away. Google the information as to your symptoms and solve the puzzle yourself. Dr. Bergman gives has a video which might help you. Might want to try his program.

http://fayetteville.legalexaminer.com/t ... dangerous/

http://orbisvitae.com/ubbthreads/ubbthr ... 0VRh8JOXIU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGmyUppmt-g
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:02 am

want2bike wrote:People get diagnose without the use of contrast dye. Gadolinium (the dye) is toxic and might harm you. It is a risk you do not need to take. Just because you have the symptoms of MS does not mean you have MS. In my case I had symptoms of MS but think my problem was with my teeth. I started a detox program and all my symptoms went away. Google the information as to your symptoms and solve the puzzle yourself. Dr. Bergman gives has a video which might help you. Might want to try his program.

http://fayetteville.legalexaminer.com/t ... dangerous/

http://orbisvitae.com/ubbthreads/ubbthr ... 0VRh8JOXIU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGmyUppmt-g

Wow, thanks for that info. I actually just got a detox and plan on starting it soon. I was also thinking about going to a TMJ specialist... you must be a mind reader because both of those things I planned on doing! Thanks a lot for your help.
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:17 am

want2bike wrote:People get diagnose without the use of contrast dye. Gadolinium (the dye) is toxic and might harm you. It is a risk you do not need to take. Just because you have the symptoms of MS does not mean you have MS. In my case I had symptoms of MS but think my problem was with my teeth. I started a detox program and all my symptoms went away. Google the information as to your symptoms and solve the puzzle yourself. Dr. Bergman gives has a video which might help you. Might want to try his program.

http://fayetteville.legalexaminer.com/t ... dangerous/

http://orbisvitae.com/ubbthreads/ubbthr ... 0VRh8JOXIU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGmyUppmt-g

I forgot to ask you... when you had these so called symptoms of MS, did you have the tingling head pain/sensitive scalp... various regions of your head hurt at all?
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby want2bike » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:39 am

My symptoms were double vision, dizzy, pins and needles running up my arm, dead feeling in my toes, muscle spasms in my back, nausea, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Within a week of starting my detox program those symptoms went away. Can't remember any head pain. Think you are on the right path. Good Luck.
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Wed May 28, 2014 3:22 pm

Well I have been going to the chiropractor for weeks now... the pain in the back of my head seems to be going away... but of course I went on vacation, and since I hadn't been seeing a chiro weekly, it seemed as though the pains on the back of my head came back... today they are pretty predominant. I started the chiro back up today, (since I had been on vacation for a week) and having a lot of dizziness/head pain as of recently (about 2-3 days now)... My chiro stated he works with a neurologist, and I'm wondering if I should get a 2nd opinion on my MRI that I got done without contrast, my chiro just said it wouldn't hurt? but he diagnosed me with cerebral vertigo apparently? do you think this would be a good idea? This neurologist that my chiro referred me to specializes in headaches.... Thoughts about this? Thank you! :?
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:03 pm

So after going to the neurologist, who said he didn't see anything wrong with my head scan w/out contrast, he put me on a muscle relaxer for 3 weeks. It tended to make me really drowsy, so I didn't take too much of it, I would vary between 1/2 to 1 1/2 pills at most because in the morning I'd be so drowsy, that it just didn't make me feel right.

So now that I have stopped taking them since mid July, I had still been experiencing different head sensations... I haven't had a chance to get back into that same neurologist who just wanted to do a follow-up. He said that he didn't see anything wrong on my scan (which is good), but these odd pin sensations, almost needle like still occur.

He said it "might" be your neck... it "might" be this... how do I know that I'm not going mentally insane by thinking something else is going on? Its just kind of weird that I'm constantly getting these head pains everyday.

Any suggestions? or comments? I'm not really experiencing any other symptoms. These needle like pains have been going on for about a year now.
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby pbjelly12 » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:04 pm

And I forgot to mention that while I was on the muscle relaxer, it didn't technically ever go away...I always had the symptom
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Re: MRI w/out contrast - Can that detect MS?

Postby ElliotB » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:09 pm

Did you see a neurologist that specializes in MS?
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