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Usefulness of ANA test

For some reason my MS neuro ordered an ANA (antinuclear antibodies ) test again last time. I assumed it has been negative when ordered previously by other neuros. Well, it's sure negative this time, since I have the latest report.

A quick bit of research came up with a study mentioned on the nih.gov site showing that the presence or absence of ANAs in patients with MS is not really very significant. I'm sure there are many other studies that explain more, but frankly I haven't looked very diligently. I know the ANA test helps in general with autoimmune testing, esp. in lupus and Sjogren's syndrome, but what about MS? I'm wondering why he ordered it and if he doubted the MS part.

Can anyone explain the usefulness of this in terms of MS?  I got my diagnosis almost 6 months ago.

Thanks muchly,
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Avatar universal
I think that they use it at first to rule out a mimic and then later, if you have been dx with MS, to see if you have an autoimmune disorder along with the MS.  That's my understanding anyway.
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429949 tn?1224691579
Good question!  I would like to know the answer to this one too!  Not sure if my Neuro did one, but I know that the hematologist I saw did and it came back negative! And I still don't know what they are looking for and what the results mean for this test!

Also the Rheumy done Two different test looking for Sjogren's antibodies on me, and they too came back  negative.  She said that these negative results even with the negative ANA didn't mean that I didn't have Sjogren's and that had the Sjogren's antibodies been possitive it would have confirmed the DX, but it cannot rule it out with a negative result. She didn't explain the ANA to me, so with this one I am still lost!

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220917 tn?1309784481
Veddy interestink, my deah.

This issue of your doc rethinking MS comes up a lot in your posts; have you noticed?  Perhaps it is you who is rethinking....  Lie back down on zee couch, and we'll discuss it some more...

No, I don't think at first glance that your doc has ordered the ANA test because he is thinking something inSTEAD of MS.  I think he wants to be certain there is nothing in addition to it.  Autoimmune diseases travel together, like women in bars goining to the ladies' room.  They never go alone.  

That'll be $150.

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428506 tn?1296557399
sorry, but what is an ANA test?  what does it test for or rule out, just Lupus?  Is it a blood test?  

thanks for cluing me in!
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Avatar universal
The ANA test is a blood test that looks for certain antibodies.  It is useful for looking for a group of autoimmune diseases.  When I was having a full rheum work-up they did it in conjunction with a bunch of other tests looking, at that time, specifically for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogrens.  I've had it ordered a couple of times with just a lupus work-up.  My new neuro ordered an ANA as part of his battery of blood tests to rule out various MS mimics.  

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147426 tn?1317265632
Well, my reaction is the same as luver here.  I think he is just not making the mistake of assuming that everything you are suffering from is MS, by seeing if there is any evidence that you might also have an autoimmune process going on.  The ANA and the ESR are the quick screening tests.

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