June Halper: How MRIs Changed Multiple Sclerosis Care


It may not be the glitziest addition to screening tools, but MRIs have stood out as a care-changing resource.

A 30-year old technology being the most dependable facet to multiple sclerosis (MS) screening speaks to its capability. June Halper, MSN, APN-C, would advise clinicians value the work of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

In an interview with MD Magazine®, Halper, chief executive officer of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), praised the MRI as the most critical advancement in MS diagnostics—and emphasized its capability at the pediatric level could even help to serve adult-onset patients.

MD Mag: What are the biggest advancements in multiple sclerosis diagnosis, screening, or monitoring?

Halper: The big advancement of course is the MRI. When we first started using MRI in the mid- or early 1980s—believe it or not it was that long ago—they said it was just a tool.

Now, it's not only a tool—it's a diagnostic tool. It fits into what we call the McDonald Criteria, where the person with MS now can be diagnosed before they get a second attack. They can diagnose a second attack based on a new lesion on MRI, which means early treatment. You're not waiting for that second attack to occur to firm up the diagnosis.

Then, of course, some of the blood work or spinal fluid analysis might be able to prognosticate the type of MS the person is developing. And then, of course, we haven't talked at all about pediatric MS, but there are kids that have MS today. And I think a lot of learning about MS, and personalized medicine, and the course of the disease and what happens early on, may lie with the pediatric population.

And some of the wonderful MS experts that are out there, like Dr. Brenda Banwell, Dr. Anna Yeh, we have some wonderful pediatric specialists—Lauren Krupp in New York—and from their work in pediatrics, we may learn about how to better take care of the adults.

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