Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Multiple Sclerosis Has a Misdiagnosis Problem

Multiple Sclerosis Has a Misdiagnosis Problem

Nancy A. Melville

June 14, 2023


In the ongoing absence of a reliable biomarker for multiple sclerosis (MS), misdiagnosis is a common, and persistent, problem that potentially puts patients at prolonged and unnecessary risk.

Experts warn that false-negative diagnoses cause treatment delays, while false-positive diagnoses run the risk for potential harm from needless treatment.

Dr Patricia Coyle

"MS has a misdiagnosis problem," said Patricia Coyle, MD, professor of neurology and vice chair (Academic Affairs), Department of Neurology, Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, New York, in presenting on the issue at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) 2023 Annual Meeting.

"We currently lack a diagnostic biomarker test, yet diagnosis is key. If you get it wrong — that really can be a problem."

Recent research indicates that MS misdiagnosis is a widespread problem, she added.

For instance, one research paper reported that nearly 20% of patients were misdiagnosed with MS and that more than 50% carried the misdiagnosis for at least 3 years, while 5% were misdiagnosed for 20 years or more.

The misdiagnosis problem is also reflected at large MS referral centers, where 30%-67% of patients turn out not to have the disease, Coyle noted.

recent study from Argentina further highlights some of the key characteristics of misdiagnosis. In this study, a cohort of 572 patients with MS revealed that 16% were incorrectly diagnosed with MS and that women were at an 83% greater risk for misdiagnosis than men.


You Might Also Enjoy...


An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of a blood vessel resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning greater than 50% of the vessel's normal diameter (width). An aneurysm may occur in any blood vessel, but is most often seen in an artery.


Nitric oxide (NO) is one of the critical components of the vasculature, regulating key signaling pathways in health. In macro-vessels, NO functions to suppress cell inflammation as well as adhesion.


Sepsis is a serious condition in which the body responds negatively to an infection. The infection fighting processes turn on the body, causing the organs to work malfunction. Sepsis may progress to septic shock.


Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer that usually appears as a flesh-colored or bluish-red nodule, often on the Face, Eyelid, Head or Neck.


Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or by pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom of a medical problem. It is not a medical condition by itself.


HEART FAILURE is a condition in which the heart loses efficiency, leading to a chronic mismatch between the body’s need for oxygen and what it actually gets. There is chronic difficulty breathing, uncomfortable swelling in the arms or legs (or anywhere).