Cognitive Impairment in Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis

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January 12, 2015

The onset of multiple sclerosis (MS) in childhood and adolescents can be associated with cognitive impairment in up to one-third of patients. Similar to the impairments in adults with MS, cognitive deficits in pediatric patients can be varied, but may be most notable in attention, visuospatial function, and processing speeds [1]. Identifying those pediatric patients at most risk has been difficult due to the overall incidence of the disease. Multi-center investigations suggest ethnicity and overall disability may predict cognitive impairment [1]. Analyses of brain MRI in small cohorts of pediatric patients with MS suggest thalamic and corpus callosum size may also predict cognitive impairments [2]. Treatment for cognitive impairment in pediatric MS is largely supportive, relying on school and therapy services.


  1. Julian, L, Serafin D, Charvet L, et al. Cognitive impairment occurs in children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis: results from a United States network. J Child Neurol 2013; 28: 102-107.
  2. Till C, Ghassemi R, Aubert-Broche B, et al. MRI correlates of cognitive impairment in childhood-onset multiple sclerosis. Neuropsychology 2011; 25: 319-332.

Submitted by Dr. Adam Numis

Dr. Numis is a member of the Resident and Fellow Section of Neurology

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