BME100 f2016:Group2 W8AM L1

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BME 100 Fall 2016 Home
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Yesenia Barrera Millan
Vishvak Rangarajan
Tori Johnson
Mariam El Sheikha
Reese Morehouse


Health Care Issue

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath which covers nerve fibers. Currently, there is no one way to detect Multiple Sclerosis. In order to properly diagnose a patient, a physician must thoroughly examine their history and may perform blood tests, a spinal tap, an MRI or evoked potential tests (Mayo Clinic Staff). Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis can be very difficult because often times, all these tests are needed. Usually, it takes two to four months in order for the patient to be officially diagnosed but in some cases, it could take years. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body's immune system to attack the myelin sheath of the nerve. It affects a wide range of the world’s population. There are treatments available, but there is no definite way of diagnosing the disease. MS typically is more commonly found in women between the ages of 20-50, it is believed to not be hereditary but rather unpredictable. Symptoms of MS vary from person to person and are often symptoms that correlate with other diseases, making it so difficult to read. Symptoms range from blindness to abnormal fatigue, to memory issues, and in worse case partial or complete paralysis. (Mayo Clinic Staff, "MS the Disease")


At the moment, there are four different methods being used to test patients for Multiple Sclerosis.

1. Examining the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can help detect diseases of the nervous system. For example, it may sometimes contain proteins found in myelin, contain oligoclonal bands that indicate inflammation in the central nervous system, or elevated levels of immunoglobulin G. In order to obtain this fluid, the patient needs to have a spinal tap done. This involves giving the patient anesthesia and inserting a needle into the lower spine. (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

2. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most common ways to diagnose MS and keep track of the disease. There are several factors that could affect the amount of information yield from these MRI scans including, types of scans and types of magnets. (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

3. Another form of diagnosing MS is an evoked potential (EP) test which can measure the brain’s response to electrical stimulation in certain areas. When there is a slow response, it is assumed that it is caused by demyelination, which is a key evidence of MS. (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

4. One of the new methods of diagnosing patients is by doing an optical coherence tomography (OCT). By viewing the retinal structures at the back of the eye, one can see the condition of the retinal nerve fiber layer. According to recent testing, there seems to be a difference between the layer of people with MS than those without it. (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

One of the useful advantages of an MRI scan is that by having continuous scans done, one can keep track of how far the disease has progressed and make decisions based on the current state. (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

The advantage of evoked potential tests, specifically visual evoked potentials, is that it can detect a very early symptom of MS along the optic nerve pathways.(National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

The problem with testing the cerebrospinal fluid and doing evoked potential tests is that they are not specifically used to test MS. They can also be used to find a wider variety of diseases. You can find common proteins within the fluid or other health conditions that could produce certain results.(National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

The disadvantages of an MRI testing include not everyone showing wounds or symptoms caused by MS at the time of the scan, as well as some of the wounds being common to people of an older age.(National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Since optical coherence tomography is a relatively new form of testing, the method may need to be refined. Also, it should not be the first test used to diagnose MS, but rather used in order to gather further evidence of the disease in a person. (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Customer Validation

This is a method of interest for patients because it is a cheaper and more time-efficient manner of detecting Multiple Sclerosis.

It is a cheaper method and it let's them know if they need to take preventative measures, allowing them to save money.

It would not take as much time trying to diagnose a patient, thus they will be able to get to more patients.

It is a cheaper method and it is not a liability.

It is a cheaper method of detecting Multiple Sclerosis.

Fundability Worksheet Scores and IP Position

Number/Assignee: WO 2002059604 A2 Title: Diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis Image: Filing Date: Jan 25, 2002

We rated this a 2 because one method of diagnosis is to test cerebrospinal fluid for the presence of proteins (oligoclonal bands), but this process is still unrefined. The goal of MS Detection is to further refine this process and create a way to diagnose MS before even the first attack or physical symptoms occur.

Customer Validation
We rated this a 2 because although there are already ways to diagnose MS in patients, it take a long time to do so, causing the process to be delayed.

IP Position
We rated this a 2 because there is already current technology to test MS, although, any further patents would be improving on those current technologies.

Works Cited

“Diagnosis Tools.” National Multiple Sclerosis Society. National Multiple Sclerosis Society, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.

Healthline. "Multiple Sclerosis by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You."Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Symptoms and Causes." Multiple Sclerosis. Mayo Clinic, 2015. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.

"MS the Disease." National Multiple Sclerosis Society. National Multiple Sclerosis Society, n.d Web. 05 Sept. 2016.