Multiple Sclerosis/Autoimmune Disorders

In neurological autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), Guillain-Barré and transverse myelitis, the body turns on itself. The lack of control people feel as their immune system attacks their nervous system is often compounded by frustration, as these disorders can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may come and go, disappearing for months at a time, and people can go years with no clear diagnosis or treatment plan.

Each year, the experts at Indiana University Health Neuroscience treat more than 1,200 patients with MS and other neurological autoimmune disorders. We provide people living with confirmed and not-yet-diagnosed disorders reassuring confidence and specialized expertise. Our neurologists, neurosurgeons and physical medicine specialists collaborate to provide multidisciplinary, personalized care. Because of our considerable experience and sub-specialty training, our experts are often sought in second opinions and difficult-to-diagnose cases.

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1. Diagnosis  
2. Treatment Options  
3. Comprehensive Care  
4. Clinical Trials  
   

Diagnosis

Currently, there is no single test to diagnose MS. Instead, MS and other autoimmune disorders are often diagnosed by eliminating other conditions. Physicians perform a thorough neurological exam and take a detailed patient history. Because diagnosis can be complicated, physician expertise is essential.

At IU Health Neuroscience, our neurologists rely on extensive experience and superior clinical skills to make accurate diagnoses. They use the latest neurodiagnostic tools to aid diagnosis in more challenging and vague cases. Advanced diagnostic tools include:

  • MRI
  • Spinal tap
  • Evoked potentials, which are electrical tests that measure how fast nerve signals travel from the brain to eyes, spinal cord and brainstem

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Treatment Options

There is no cure for MS, Guillain-Barré and transverse myelitis, but treatment can effectively manage symptoms and reduce the severity of attacks. In many people, medication can delay disease progression. Our autoimmune specialists offer a number of advanced treatment options, including:

Intravenous Treatments

Corticosteroids injections can reduce inflammation and lessen the severity of MS flare-ups.

Intravenous Gamma Globulins

Gamma globulins are a kind of blood plasma protein that help the body fight infections. In people with autoimmune disorders, gamma globulin treatment can temporarily boost the body's immune system, and help reduce severity and duration of attacks.

Plasmapheresis

Plasmapheresis removes harmful antibodies from a person's blood. It is an effective treatment for Guillain-Barré and is being investigated as a treatment for MS. In plasmapheresis, a person's blood is removed (similar to dialysis) and a machine separates the plasma from the blood cells. The blood cells are mixed with new, healthy plasma (usually synthetic) and returned to the body.

Comprehensive Care

Our Multiple Sclerosis Center treats all aspects of the disease, providing physical and occupational therapy, pain management techniques, and cognitive and psychosocial rehabilitation to help people manage their disease and live life to their fullest ability.

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Clinical Trials

Our participation in clinical trials helps to increase our knowledge of autoimmune disorders and provides faster access to the newest therapies. IU Health Neuroscience was previously a site for several breakthrough MS studies, including one that led to the approval of the first oral immunotherapy for MS, and another that led to the approval of a new drug to improve walking in people with MS. Through these and other ongoing clinical research, we are helping advance the understanding of autoimmune disorders, and paving the way to new treatments and therapies.

Find more information about clinical trials through the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).

Learn more about Multiple Sclerosis.

Learn more about Guillain-Barré.

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