MSA Trust

Professor Nicola Pavese


Multimodal imaging study to improve initial diagnostic accuracy for Multiple System Atrophy

Nicola Pavese, Professor of Clinical Neuroscience, Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre & Positron Emission Tomography Centre, Newcastle University.

An early diagnosis of MSA would benefit patients, as they could receive from the beginning a more focused and disease-specific management, including the multidisciplinary approach required for this disease.

Unfortunately, the initial symptoms of MSA are often difficult to distinguish from the initial symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and this can cause delay in the diagnosis of the disease.

The study aims to use a variety of brain scans, including a recently developed MRI method, to study the earliest brain abnormalities that occur in patients with MSA. This knowledge could potentially allow us to diagnosis MSA earlier. It could also help identify areas in the brain which could be targets for future drug research in MSA.

Professor Pavese has commented on the benefits earlier diagnosis could bring to people with MSA:

“Despite the significant advancements in the understanding of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) achieved during the last decade, our ability to reach a correct diagnosis of the disease in its early stages, unfortunately, remains low. A misdiagnosis generally leads to inappropriate treatment, significant patient and family distress, and a delay in starting the multidisciplinary approach required for this disease.

“This MSA Trust award will enable us to use brain scans with recently developed techniques to detect very early changes in the brain of patients with MSA. In this way, we hope to improve the early diagnosis of MSA but also to identify indicators of disease progression that can be used in the future to test the effect of new drugs that are developed to slow down or even stop the progression of the disease.”

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