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Approaches for Better Diagnosis of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis

Pediatric MS is predominantly inflammatory in nature, with a presentation that is similar to a number of other conditions.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is typically detected in young adulthood or middle age, although it can also occur in childhood. An estimated 3% to 10% of patients with MS may experience their first clinical event at <16 years of age and 1% at <10 years of age.1,2

Although the demyelinating features are the same in pediatric vs adult MS, pediatric MS has distinctive patterns that distinguish it from later disease. MS in children is equally distributed among boys and girls, which in adulthood shifts to a 3:1 bias toward women.3 The first attack is often multifocal, involving motor and brainstem function, sphincter control, and cognitive disturbances, compared with the usual presentation of isolated symptoms of optic neuritis and sensory symptoms in postpubertal onset.

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