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Stroke

MRI results in confusion

11/30/2007

Question:

My MRI results are as followed: signal changes in periventricular and subcortical white matter as well as left inferior cerebellum are most suspicious for mid chronic small vessel ischemic changes. however,in this age group, demyelinationg lesions cannot be excluded.

My Crohn`s specialist thinks this may be beginning of MS or have had a stroke. He is not sure, so i have asked my family doctor, and he blew it off to age. don`t know where else to go, let alone what does this EXACTLY MEAN? so i just blow it off, cause of my age (43), or should i seek a neroligist.? thanks, confused in michigan.

Answer:

I have written extensively in the past on small vessel ischemic disease (also called "white matter disease", periventricular white matter change, etc.). I would suggest using the NetWellness search engine to find previous responses related to this topic which describe this phenomenon in detail.

The short answer is that the MRI findings are nonspecific/nondiagnostic. The changes on your scan may look similar to MS or old strokes, but as I have written in the previous answers, we often see these sorts of changes in people who have never had any clinical symptom(s). As your primary care doctor suggests, these asymptomatic changes are much more common with increasing age.

For more information:

Go to the Stroke health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Brett   Kissela, MD Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati