The term benign multiple sclerosis
has been in the literature since the 1960s (possibly even before) and refers to an activity level of a person's MS that fails to progress over a prolonged period of time or fails to cause major disability
from the time of diagnosis.
It is a controversial term but in general, is used by clinicians when referring to a non-aggressive form of the disease. Whether it should be contained in the vernacular or not continues to be debated at meetings and symposia since our belief as an autoimmune disease
is that whether or not MS's progression is apparent or not to the patient, treating doctor, or radiologist
, we believe that the immune system is not just sleeping.
Simply stated, it's just not doing "its thing" out in the open or in places of the brain whether major clinical changes can be appreciated. I personally don't use that terminology with my patients and stick with the more conventional classification systems in current use of primary and secondary progressive or relapsing/remitting (though remitting, in my opinion, is a bad choice of terms for the reasons stated above).
Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
Dr. Dariush Saghafi, Neurologist