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:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), most children have this type

  • Primary progressive MS

  • Secondary progressive MS (SPMS)


What causes multiple sclerosis? 

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 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: 6/12/2018 10:11:43 AM

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From the Newsdesk

Get your FREE Water Watcher Card here!
06/29/2018 — Prevent drowning and accidents when children are near water by assigning a responsible adult to wear a Water Watcher Badge. The badge wearer takes responsibility to supervise the children until hading off to the next water watcher. Available at selected urgent care centers while supplies last.
Daniella Celebrates her Ninth Birthday by Advocating for Children’s Health
06/26/2018 — On this very same day nine years ago, Daniella Alvarez was diagnosed Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT), a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer. The news came on June 26, 2009, her second birthday. Daniella endured years of brain surgeries, aggressive chemotherapies, radiation, imaging scans, multiple visits to intensive care at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. She is now cancer free thanks to a pediatric clinical trial made possible through research funding.


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