I had a clinical isolated syndrome, my MRI was negative and I still have symptoms a year later. Would you have no symptoms if it was not a clinically isolated syndrome?
A clinically isolated syndrome or CIS is a single occurrence of symptoms and examination findings consistent with inflammatory demyelination in the central nervous system. A typical CIS would include optic neuritis, a brainstem syndrome or a partial transverse myelitis. Some people with a CIS go on to develop Multiple Sclerosis and some do not. We diagnosis MS when there is evidence of an inflammatory demyelinating process that reoccurs either symptomatically or by MR imaging. Recovery or lack of recovery from the CIS is not related to the risk of developing MS. In fact people with severe complete transverse myelitis have a low risk of developing MS, but often have significant residual problems that do not ever get better. Conversely, people can have little recovery from a CIS and go on to develop MS.
Revere (Rip) Kinkel MD
Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program
Professor of Clinical Neurosciences
University of California San Diego