Scans of the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology can detect symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) without people showing any signs of the disease, it has emerged.
Research carried out by the University of California in San Francisco and the Multiple Sclerosis Center found that in a study of 44 people who were subjected to MRI scans for a number of reasons, abnormalities were likely to occur which reflected those found with MS sufferers.
One-third of patients showing the symptoms went on to get the disease within five years.
Darin T Okuda, who led the study at the university, said: "More research is needed to fully understand the risk of developing MS for people with these brain abnormalities but it appears that this condition may be a precursor to MS."
He added, however, that patients must exhibit symptoms of the condition to receive treatment, stating that doctors will always aim to work on the patient and not an MRI scan.
Last week, the MS Society asked the government to change the law on the advertising of stem cell therapies which are being marketed at MS sufferers.
Please click here for advice to help you find the right type of care.