Dawson fingers are a radiographic feature of demyelination characterized by periventricular demyelinating plaques distributed along the axis of medullary veins, perpendicular to the body of the lateral ventricles and/or callosal junction. This is thought to reflect perivenular inflammation. They are a relatively specific sign for multiple sclerosis.

Radiographic features

  • T1: low signal in chronic lesions; otherwise usually isointense to white matter
  • T2/FLAIR: linear or ovoid high signal
  • T1C+ (Gd): enhancement can be seen with active lesions

History and etymology

Dawson fingers are named after Scottish pathologist James Walker Dawson (1870-1927 ) who described the phenomenon on histopathological specimens in an article in 1916 , although the term "Dawson fingers" was brought forward by Charles Lumsden.

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