PHOENIX – New diagnostic criteria were introduced this week for neuromyelitis optica, now called neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, which is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that is sometimes mistaken for multiple sclerosis.
An international consensus panel, chaired by Mayo Clinic neurologists Dean Wingerchuk, M.D., and Brian Weinshenker, M.D., reviewed the medical literature and recent scientific discoveries relating to NMOSD to develop new diagnostic criteria. The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation sponsored this panel.
NMOSD can affect the optic nerves, brain stem, spinal cord and brain. It can cause a spectrum of symptoms, including visual loss, paralysis and episodes of persistent hiccups, nausea and vomiting. Detection of aquaporin-4 immunoglobulin G antibodies (AQP4-IgG), using a blood test that was developed by Mayo Clinic investigators, is highly specific for NMOSD and facilitates the diagnosis. Some patients have the key features of NMOSD, but do not have detectable antibodies. The new criteria address both possibilities.
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