Lesions not showing up on a 1.5T MRI

This is the place to ask questions if you have symptoms that suggest MS, but aren't yet diagnosed.

Lesions not showing up on a 1.5T MRI

Postby val1219 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:36 pm

Hi everyone! This is my first post here. My doctor thought I had MS, so I got a brain MRI with contrast two weeks ago. The MRI was a 1.5 tesla (the weakest kind of MRI). There were no signs of MS on my MRI, so now my doctors are saying that I don't have it. However, I've already had countless blood tests to rule out most other things it could be. So I think there's a chance it might still be MS.

Some of the symptoms I'm experiencing are nerve pain, tingling, headaches, fatigue, urgency to urinate, muscle aches and stiffness, joint pain, intermittent blurry vision, dizziness, constipation, tripping over my feet when I walk, aches in my chest, trouble focusing, thinking, and concentrating, and I drop things a lot. So basically all of the classic symptoms of MS. However, I'm only 19 so I'm still kind of young to have so many symptoms if this is MS.

My doctors have already done blood tests for Lyme disease (twice), the ANA blood test (negative), the rheumatoid arthritis factor blood test (negative), all of the thyroid blood tests (all normal), vitamin B6, B12, and D (all normal), lead and mercury (normal), and they did a CBC and a metabolic panel (all normal). Also, I used to donate blood for the Red Cross and they test all donations for HIV, HTLV, Syphilis, and babesiosis so I know it's none of those. Also, my daily multivitamins have 100% of the daily recommended value of zinc and copper so I know I'm not deficient in either of those.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of that. I have two questions that I'm hoping to get the answers to. My first question is, would it be possible for me to have lesions in my brain that aren't showing up because the 1.5 tesla is too weak? Based on my symptoms and previous blood tests, do you think it makes sense for me to ask my doctor to redo the MRI in a 3 Tesla machine to see if the stronger magnet can detect any lesions? Have any of you ever had lesions that didn't show up on a 1.5 T but showed up on a 3T?

My second question is, based on my symptoms and previous blood tests, is there anything else that I should get tested for that I haven't already? My doctors have pretty much given up on trying to diagnose it. They seem like they don't really have any other ideas of what it could be. I'd really like to find the answers to why I feel like this and I have really good health insurance so I could get pretty much any diagnostic tests I need. Any other ideas you have about what else it could be would be greatly appreciated (no matter how much of a stretch it might be).

Thanks! - Valerie
val1219
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Re: Lesions not showing up on a 1.5T MRI

Postby ElliotB » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:52 pm

Hi Val1219 and welcome to TIMS

"do you think it makes sense for me to ask my doctor to redo the MRI in a 3"

It would make sense to ask your doctor the various MRI questions you posted here to get his/her opinion.


Here are a few additional suggestions:

Insure the neurologist you are seeing is one that specializes in MS.

It is probably a good idea at this time to have a MRI of your spine done as well.

It is also probably a good idea to have a LP done. A spinal tap (also known as lumbar puncture) is one of the tests used to help diagnose multiple sclerosis. MS can sometimes be hard to diagnose and sometimes multiple tests are need to confirm the diagnosis.


Keep in mind that there are about 400 illnesses that mimic the symptoms of MS. And that there is a very small percentage of people with MS that have no lesions.

In any case, there are many things you can do in the meantime to help get you feeling better with regard to your health. You want to be in the best health possible in every way. There is a lot of very valuable info on this site and of coursed there is Dr. Google!

Hope you are feeling better soon.
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Re: Lesions not showing up on a 1.5T MRI

Postby val1219 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:00 pm

Thanks so much for your response! You wouldn't happen to know where I could find a full list of the 400 illnesses that mimic MS, would you? I've been trying to google it for the past two weeks and everything that comes up lists the same 20 illnesses that I've already been tested for. I'm having trouble finding the more obscure ones.
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Re: Lesions not showing up on a 1.5T MRI

Postby jimmylegs » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:03 pm

hi there :) can i inquire as to the exact normal results for b6, b12 and D? please include both the numbers and the units for each. there's normal and then there's optimal.

as for more tests, please investigate serum magnesium. again it will be normal because the reference range is insanely huge. but you want to be in the optimal part of that range and you won't know for sure, until you have that result in hand.

probably would not hurt to check on zinc and copper regardless of the multi's content (awesome that you are in the habit of taking one though). again, normal vs optimal is key. my last zinc result was 'normal' and it was GARBAGE.

what does your multi say for magnesium content? as in chemical form as well as amount. also curious if your multi requires more than one pill per serving, is a one a day or a three a day, that kind of stuff.

it's best to know your personal physical requirement for magnesium on a daily basis. the recommended dailies are low, so you can calculate a level that better reflects the influence of common mag-depleting facets of modern life. that range is 7-10 mg per kg body weight per day. that may or may not match standard public health recommendations in your case (which you can check in the diet forum if you are not already on top of that stuff).

also a good idea to understand which are your most dense sources of dietary magnesium. do the math on your routine intake. supplements should only be added as a top up to a solid dietary foundation.

not all mag supplements are created equal. mag in multis is usually crap. forms like magnesium glycinate are far better absorbed into tissue than magnesium oxide for example. depending where you are, you may have access to one or more free sample magnesium products. not the total solution, but hey if you are interested the option is there. i posted links to the u.s. option yesterday. one more choice available for ppl with addresses in canada.

to continue: symptoms associated with mag deficit may include pain, tingling, headaches, fatigue, urinary urgency, muscle aches and stiffness, joint pain, constipation, chest pain and more. there are hundreds of different ways for the wheels to come off when mag status is on the low side. not everyone gets the same constellation of symptoms.

personally i associate my worst issues with trouble focusing, thinking and concentrating with low zinc status.

i appreciate your energy directed at figuring out what is going on. please allocate at least half of that effort to figuring out how your day to day routine might differ from mainstream public health recommendations!
take control of your own health
pursue optimal self care at least as actively as a diagnosis
ask for referrals to preventive health care specialists eg dietitians
don't let suboptimal self care muddy any underlying diagnostic picture!
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Re: Lesions not showing up on a 1.5T MRI

Postby val1219 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:21 pm

Thanks for your reply! My B6 was 24.6 ug/L and B12 was 572 pg/ml. But since that blood test was done, I started taking B vitamin supplements that have 90mg of B6 and 1000mcg of B12 per pill and I take 1 pill per day. My vitamin D was 35.3 ng/ml. But since the blood test, I started taking a supplement blend with 1000 IU of vitamin D per pill and I take one pill per day. I did not get a blood test to check my magnesium, and none of the vitamins/supplements I'm taking have magnesium in it, so it could be that. But I eat a banana and a serving of almonds every morning for breakfast and my diet is high in quinoa and brown rice because I'm gluten sensitive. I'll definitely get my magnesium levels tested. Thanks!
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Re: Lesions not showing up on a 1.5T MRI

Postby jimmylegs » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:44 pm

no problem.

b6 looks good. b6 deficit is not on my radar wrt ms but it's one that is known to cause neurological damage if supplemented to excess. your level looks very middle of the road.

re b12 that also looks good. 500 has been pitched as a minimum. there's not the best evidence base out there for that proposed cut-off, but you're well above it anyway.

re d3 that's fine for preventing things like osteoporosis. other chronic illness including ms, not so much. 50 ng/ml would be a better bet.
please don't take d3 with no magnesium in the mix. d3 needs cofactors. it is one of those things that just sucks magnesium right out of you. (not usually with doses like 1000IU but your symptoms definitely make it a worthwhile interaction to consider).
could you post details on the supplement blend with 1000 IU d3? more info to follow once i hear back on that nuance :)

i really really hope you will do the actual math on your dietary requirements and intake of magnesium.
re requirements. what does 7-10 mg/kg body weight mean in mgs of magnesium for you?
re intake. to start if you could detail all intakes of everything for two sample weekdays and one sample weekend day. make the info read like a recipe, not a menu. that allows for real assessment of intake in relation to requirements.

one other thing that may be of interest - serum uric acid. can be low normal in ms patients (mine was). higher normal for health controls. mine was stubbornly below 200 umol/l until i corrected actually deficient zinc.
then my uric acid shot up into the healthy section of normal. 278. i was going for 290 but 278 was awesome after years stuck in the 190s. uric acid is a powerful antioxidant so i was relieved that i was finally able to get it to budge.

ps. gluten sensitivity suggests serum zinc could be worth checking
take control of your own health
pursue optimal self care at least as actively as a diagnosis
ask for referrals to preventive health care specialists eg dietitians
don't let suboptimal self care muddy any underlying diagnostic picture!
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