Multiple sclerosis diagnosis: Knowledge gaps and opportunities for educational intervention in neurologists in the United States

Andrew J. Solomon, Marwa Kaisey, Stephen C. Krieger, Salim Chahin, Robert T. Naismith, Sarah M. Weinstein, Russell T. Shinohara, Brian G. Weinshenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Few studies have addressed the results of educational efforts concerning proper use of McDonald criteria (MC) revisions outside multiple sclerosis (MS) subspecialty centers. Neurology residents and MS subspecialist neurologists demonstrated knowledge gaps for core elements of the MC in a recent prior study. Objective: To assess comprehension and application of MC core elements by non-MS specialist neurologists in the United States who routinely diagnose MS. Methods: Through a cross-sectional study design, a previously developed survey instrument was distributed online. Results: A total of 222 neurologists completed the study survey. Syndromes atypical for MS were frequently incorrectly considered “typical” MS presentations. Fourteen percent correctly identified definitions of both “periventricular” and “juxtacortical” lesions and 2% correctly applied these terms to 9/9 images. Twenty-four percent correctly identified all four central nervous system (CNS) regions for satisfaction of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) dissemination in space. In two presented cases, 61% and 71% correctly identified dissemination in time (DIT) was not fulfilled, and 85% and 86% subsequently accepted nonspecific historical symptoms without objective evidence for DIT fulfillment. Conclusion: The high rate of knowledge deficiencies and application errors of core elements of the MC demonstrated by participants in this study raise pressing questions concerning adequacy of dissemination and educational efforts upon publication of revisions to MC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1248-1256
Number of pages9
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Demyelinating disease (CNS)
  • diagnosis
  • diagnostic criteria
  • education
  • multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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