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“Benign” and “normal appearing”: it’s in the eye of the beholder
  1. Frederik Barkhof
  1. Correspondence to Frederik Barkhof, MS Centre Amsterdam and Department of Radiology, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; f.barkhof{at}

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The course of multiple sclerosis (MS) is unpredictable, and the mechanisms leading to permanent disability are poorly understood. The number of lesions on a T2 weighted MRI scan at presentation bears some prognostic significance, certainly in the first decade of the disease,1 but what determines whether patients will have a benign or secondary progressive (SP) course thereafter is difficult to foresee based on the number of cerebral T2 lesions. To a certain extent this reflects the definition of “benign disease” which depends on the cut-offs required in terms of Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score and disease duration. Use of the EDSS biases the definition towards spinal …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and Peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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