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How do doctors interpret spots on a brain MRI scan?

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Doctors interpret spots on a brain MRI scan by analyzing the appearance of the spots and considering the patient's medical history, according to HealthTap. Aspects of the spots noted for interpretation include their location, size and density. Non-concerning spots frequently appear on brain MRI scans of the elderly.

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A spot on a brain MRI could be a demyelination or a mass. Demyelination means that myelin, the material that insulates the central section of nerve fibers, is damaged. Multiple sclerosis, which affects all ages, is the most prevalent inflammatory demyelinating disease affecting the central nervous system, says Radiology Assistant. Demyelination is also seen, however, in other conditions, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and various immune neuropathies, according to HealthTap. An earlier hemorrhage in the brain, an infection or a head trauma could be detected by way of a spot on a brain MRI, in which case a doctor might not necessarily be concerned unless new symptoms are present.

There are many possible reasons for the appearance of white spots on a brain MRI for an older person, but much fewer for someone younger, according to HealthTap. As there are various interpretations for spots on brain MRI scans, a neurologist should be consulted to correlate MRI findings with clinical symptoms.

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