Research by Dr Kate Taylor

All of our attendees carry out a piece of research in an area of MS clinical practice or treatment that interests them.

If you would like to contact Dr Taylor, drop us a line and we’ll put you in touch where possible.



There were three aims in this research:

  • To find out whether the use of lumbar punctures (LPs) to help in MS diagnosis has reduced in NHS Highlands,
  • to understand if the result of an LP changes diagnosis and management of a patient,
  • to consider whether more LPs should be carried out for patients suspected of having MS.


  • The recent changes (2017) to the McDonald diagnostic criteria give new prominence to CSF findings in making a diagnosis of MS.
  • The audit was managed in two parts:
    • analysis of the Scottish MS register to look at all NHS Highland patients diagnosed with MS and note if they had an LP or not,
    • analysis of local hospital data to review patients who had elective day-case LP under ‘neurology’ for investigating MS, to see if the results changed diagnosis or management.

Key findings

  • Despite a short rise in use from 2010-12, the use of LP has declined in NHS Highland since 2015.
  • There is no obvious pattern suggesting that this correlates with changes in the diagnostic criteria.
  • The use of LP for patients with possible MS changed the diagnosis for three patients though did not impact the management of their condition.

Core recommendations

Discuss with peers whether the findings from this audit suggest that we should consider increasing the use of LP with patients who may have MS.


Take action

  • See the full slide set from Dr Taylor’s presentation here.
  • Contact the researcher to discuss their work (please put the name of the Snapshot as your title in our contact form)
  • Learn more about the issues raised in this report. Click the scattered links to access further information.