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What is "foci" on an MRI?

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Foci on an MRI are periventricular white matter lesions, evidence of changes in a patient's brain that appear on the MRI as white spots, states Timothy C. Hain, M.D. From one-third to 80 percent of MRI scans performed on patients older than 65 show T2 hyperintense foci as of 2015.

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Periventricular white matter lesions have various causes, such as the normal aging process. In these cases, the spots are called unidentified bright objects. Other causes include multiple sclerosis-related disorders, minor strokes and vitamin B6 deficiency, notes Dr. Hain, a Chicago-based neurologist. Patients who have the lesions display symptoms of impaired balance, a slower walk and reduced mental abilities. Treatments for the condition include taking vitamin supplements and controlling hypertension.

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