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Q & A about NMO with Brian Weinshenker, M.D.

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:00 pm
by Ashlee
What are early warning signs that an NMO attack is imminent?
BW: The major symptoms of NMO are optic neuritis and transverse myelitis. Optic neuritis causes eye pain and blurring of vision or blank spots in the field of vision, typically in one eye at a time, but occasionally in both simultaneously. Myelitis can cause pain, often a band of burning, searing pain across the torso, often accompanied by weakness or loss of sensation in one to all four limbs. Often, the weakness will begin in one leg and spread to the other leg or to the arm on the same side, but many different patterns are possible depending on the spot in the spinal cord most severely affected. Occasionally, flares of NMO can be associated with fever, and sometimes they can be preceded by severe nausea and vomiting or hiccups.

Usually, there is no warning that an attack is imminent until it actually starts. That is why a priority for research is to enhance our understanding of the predictive value of the antibody test. If we could successfully document a correlation between the antibody level and attacks, a rise in the antibody level might indicate an “imminent attack” before symptoms develop.

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