Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Also known as: MS
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS), is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system, which normally helps us fight a variety of infections, attacks and inflames its own central nervous system. MS affects the brain, spinal cord, optic nerves (CNS), and particularly the myelin sheath (the fatty layer that protects and helps nerves send information from one place to another), damaging them and slowing or preventing messages from being sent between the brain and different parts of the body.
There are a number of types of multiple sclerosis:
What causes multiple sclerosis in children?
The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is not known, but probably involves genetic inherited abnormalities which make children more susceptible and environmental factors (like infection, toxins or drugs) that trigger the process. Risk factors include; being female, white, having a parent or sibling with the disease and living in a temperate climate.
What are the symptoms of pediatric multiple sclerosis?
Symptoms can appear in infants (before 2 years of age), however most children with MS are diagnosed during adolescence.
- Children with RRMS have attacks of symptoms (relapse) which come and go (remit).
- Children with PPMS have symptoms which remain or get worse.
- Secondary progressive MS symptoms continue to get steadily worse.
Symptoms vary depending on where in the CNS inflammation occurs but may include muscle weakness, exhaustion, balance and coordination problems, dizziness, blurry and other vision issues, strange sensation like numbness or prickling, problems with memory, thinking or judgement and emotional problems.
What are multiple sclerosis care options?
While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, there are treatments that can help slow the disease and control symptoms. These include steroids and disease-modifying medications.
Rehabilitation therapy (physical and occupational), psychotherapy and counseling are also helpful.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: 8/3/2018 9:25:00 AM
Weekly Support Programs
Knowing how to swim saves lives. Swimming and water safety lessons are offered by a trained instructor for babies as young as 6 months to adolescents under 21 years old. Learn more.
Participants will learn to optimize neurological potential across the developing age and care continuum, to provide other treatment modalities to optimize results, to provide options for our patients and families, to provide options for our patients and families, and more! Learn more.
Yoga is a great way to get children active in a non- competitive environment. This one-day-a-week class is available for patients currently receiving therapy at one of our Nicklaus Children’s outpatient center locations, their siblings and children residing in our community. Learn more.
From the Newsdesk
Seeing a baby boy intubated, hooked up to a maze of machines, and with IV pumps snaking out of his tiny arms is an incredibly heartbreaking and terrifying experience. The Nicklaus Children’s staff was not only caring and friendly, but knowledgeable and explained everything to us in detail. Meeting the neurosurgery team brought us great comfort because they were confident and calm—they won our trust immediately.
Learn about Individual Education Plans with Dr. Reshma Naidoo, Neuropsychologist and Neurorehabilitation Specialist at Nicklaus Children's Hosptial.