Robby from the MS community: Has there been any news on diagnostic criteria?
Prof. Alasdair Coles, Neurologist: Yes. So at this conference we had the unveiling of the new version of the McDonald diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis. And there’s good news and bad news about this in my opinion.
So the good news is that the criteria have been further modified, so we can diagnose MS a lot earlier, even earlier than we can now, and the good news about that is it should lead to people with MS getting access to drugs earlier.
The bad news is it involves lumbar punctures. So 20 years ago, nearly everyone who was diagnosed with MS had a lumbar puncture, and we’ve moved away from that, so it’s relatively unusual now to have a lumbar puncture. And I’ve always thought that was a good thing because lumbar punctures can cause harm, they can cause headaches and time off work and stuff like that.
But the new criteria bring them back, so the bad news is that people being diagnosed now may be asked to have a lumbar puncture and that may cause some temporary headache, time off work.