Cognitive dysfunction in pediatric- vs. adult-onset MS


REPORT FROM THE ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS – BOSTON, MA, SEPTEMBER 10-13, 2014 – Cognitive outcomes appear to be similar in pediatric-onset MS and adult-onset MS despite a longer disease duration in younger patients (Hakiki et al. ECTRIMS 2014; abstract YI2.3).

Neuropsychological performance was assessed with the Rao Brief Repeatable Battery and the Stroop test in 14 patients with a history of pediatric-onset MS and 30 age-matched adult RRMS patients. Duration of MS was 9.8 years and 3.7 years, respectively. Mean EDSS score was 1.7 and 1.5. Mean age for the two groups was 26 years.

There were no significant differences between the two groups with respect to mean test scores or number of tests failed. Overall, 14% of pediatric-onset MS patients were rated as cognitively impaired compared to 27% of the adult-onset group. The researchers concluded that the slower rate of cognitive dysfunction in pediatric MS patients may reflect good recovery and compensatory ability in early life, which may be due to enhanced brain plasticity in children and adolescents.

Guest Reviewer: Dr. Daniel Selchen, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario.

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