These were criteria for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis developed by a team led by Dr Charles Poser and published in 1983. The Poser criteria established the framework for diagnosing MS until they were superseded by the McDonald criteria, which were originally published in 2001 and subsequently updated.
Poser defined different levels of certainty in the diagnosis of MS.
Clinically definite MS: requires two attacks (relapses) of more than 24 hours duration, and more than one month apart, together with clinical evidence of lesions in two places within the central nervous system.
Laboratory supported definite MS: includes evidence from a lumbar puncture showing oligoclonal banding.
Clinically probable MS: the above combination of clinical and paraclincial evidence but no oligoclonal bands.
Laboratory supported probable MS: oligoclonal banding without clinical or paraclinical evidence of lesions.
The Poser criteria were developed before MRI scans had become an established part of the diagnosis of multiple scleorsis. Some older clinical trials refer to these criteria and people who have been living with MS for many years may have been diagnosed using them.
- Annals of Neurology 1983;13(3):227-231. Summary New diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis: guidelines for research protocols.
Last reviewed: August 2014
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