What to Know About Visual Evoked Potential Tests for Multiple Sclerosis
Your brain and spine contain the same number of cells. The myelin sheath protects parts of the brain.
If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), then your immune system attacks these myelin sheaths as if they’re invaders. This can lead to a number of motor, sensory, and cognitive symptoms.
MS is a chronic condition. Experts aren’t sure what causes it, but some risk factors have been identified.
There are a number of tests that can be performed to confirm a diagnosis of multiplesclerosing cholangitis. There are no one tests that can be used to diagnoseMS, but there are some tests that can be used to rule out other conditions.
- neurological exam
- There is an magnetic resonance image.
- spinal fluid analysis (spinal tap)
- Blood tests.
The visual evoked potential test is a test that can be used to diagnose and monitor multiplesclerosing cardiovascular disease. The article takes a closer look at the VEP test, including how it is used for multiplesclerosis, what the procedure is like, and what you can learn from the results.
The brain responds to visual stimuli with an electrical response. A VEP test is used to measure brain activity.
When light waves enter your eye, they’re absorbed by specialized cells called cones and rods. These are located in your retina in the back of your eye. Your retina turns these light waves into electrical signals that then travel down your optic nerve to the back of your brain, and your brain interprets this as visual information.
You will be shown high-contrast patterns that flash and alternate during the test. You will have a stimulator on your head while this happens.
The timing of the flashing patterns and the timing of the electrical activity in your brain are measured using the electrodes. These are the measures that doctors or healthcare professionals can use to figure out how long it takes for the flashing lights to travel down your nerves.
If you have MS, your immune system attacks the myelin sheath that insulates your neurons. This is called demyelination.
Demyelination makes it more difficult for electrical signals to travel across your neurons. This includes your optic nerves, which stretch from the back of your eyes to pathways that reach the back of your brain.
If your myelin is damaged, a VEP test will show the delay between when you are shown a pattern and when the signal reaches the back of your brain.
A VEP test can be used to diagnose multiplesclerosis, but it is not a good indicator of the disease.
VEP tests can be used to measure the progression of demyelination.
“A VEP test is painless and simple. You don’t need to make any special preparations.”
The test will be performed in a medical setting.
Several wires will be attached with an adhesive to your scalp, especially in the occipital region, which is at the back of your head.
You will be sitting in front of a computer. The monitor will show a pattern of alternating bars. The pattern will flicker frequently, with the dark parts changing to light.
Each eye is tested individually. The procedure will last between 30 and 60 minutes. Most people go home the same day. You can expect to drive yourself home if you are able to drive yourself to the test.
A VEP test produces a graph. It looks like it is similar to the heart rate monitor.
Depending on where the test is taken and who administered it, a doctor may be able to review the results with you right away. In other cases, a technician might need to send the results to a specialist, such as a neurologist, to review before sharing with you.
“VEP tests can find diminished or delayed electrical activity in your brain, but they can’t determine the cause. Other tests may be needed before you get a diagnosis.”
Can a VEP test confirm a diagnosis of MS or are other tests needed?
A VEP test can provide evidence of demyelination in the optic nerves. MS causes demyelination, but so do other conditions such as optic neuritis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.
“Any condition that affects the visual pathways in the brain can affect the brain’s VEP. You may need to take more tests to rule out other conditions.”
What other types of evoked potential tests do doctors use for MS?
Sometimes doctors want to run other tests.
The VEP test is used for multiplesclerosis.
Are VEP tests used to diagnose and determine other health conditions?
Yes, there are several uses for VEP tests. Some examples include monitoring gliomas and hydrocephalus. VEP tests can also be useful in certain circumstances during surgery or for people who are in a coma.
Other examples of conditions that may use VEP tests include optic nerve tumors, glaucoma, and strokes involving the visual cortex.
A VEP test that shows a normal range of activity can usually rule out any abnormality of the optic nerves.
“VEP tests are a quick, cost-effective, and non-destructive way to measure your brain’s ability to interpret visual information. You can measure the electrical activity in your brain by putting electrodes on your head.”
“The test can tell you if your brain is responding normally to visual information, but it can’t tell you the underlying cause.”
VEP tests can be used to help diagnose and monitor the effects of multiplesclerosis, but they are also used in conjunction with other methods. They can be used for a number of other conditions, but they are helpful for people with Multiplesclerosis.