Help With Medical Terminology


Asked by KJ

Help With Medical Terminology

I just received a copy of my medical records and was looking at my MRI results. I could use some help with some of the jargon.

Under FINDINGS it says, "There are a few small focal areas of T2-FLAIR signal hyperintensity in the white matter of the corona radiata and centrum semiovale, the largest of which appears to measure 7mm and involves the left central semiovale. There are no areas of signal drop-out seen on the gradient images to suggest hemorrhage or calcification."

Under IMPRESSION it says, "There is a mild amount of nonspecific focal white matter disease in the corona radiata and centrum semiovale bilaterally. The differential diagnosis includes demyelination (including chronic ischemic demyelination), vasculitis or post infectious etiology. Clinical correlation is advised."

My neurologist has told me that she believes MS is a possibility but that the lesions she has seen are "normal for my age". She wants to do a lumbar puncture in the near future to help "rule out" MS.

Thanks for the help,



Hi KJ,

These MRI reports can be fascinating and quite confusing. Before I tackle some of the jargon, let me tell you about a webpage I just found from which you can look at images with different parts of the brain labelled. Pretty cool. See here. Just click on the phrase associated with each location. Look specifically at the White Matter category.

"small focal areas of T2-FLAIR signal hyperintensity" - this describes lesions (focal areas, signal hyperintensity) which can be seen on the film when they used the T2-FLAIR pattern of imaging.

"corona radiata and centrum semiovale" - these are different areas of the white matter in the brain. See that link above for images.

"nonspecific focal white matter disease" - this is based on the lesions described above.

"demyelination (including chronic ischemic demyelination)" - this could mean MS or one of the many other causes of demyelination, including carbon dioxide poisoning.

"vasculitis" - inflammation of the walls of the blood vessels resulting in damage

"post infectious etiology" - caused by previous infection

The lumbar puncture and testing of the cerebrospinal should reveal O-bands if you have had active demyelination going on. They also test for specific proteins too.

The lumbar puncture provided enough evidence for me to get the "probable MS" diagnosis at the time. Then, it was just developing new lesions in the following months which earned me the definite MS diagnosis.

Sounds like you are getting one step closer. Hang in there.

Answered by Lisa Emrich