The cornerstone of the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is the neurologic history and examination. Support for the diagnosis as well as aid in the exclusion of other disorders can be obtained from other investigations. Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid can provide evidence of a central nervous system inflammatory process; evoked potential studies can provide evidence of subclinical multifocal involvement of the central nervous system. Magnetic resonance imaging can reveal dissemination of white matter lesions and help in the exclusion of other neurologic disorders. These tests have been incorporated into the modern diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis. The natural history of multiple sclerosis is variable; accordingly, early in the clinical course of the disorder, predicting the prognosis for a specific patient is usually difficult. Nevertheless, some features have limited predictive value.
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