Types of Multiple Sclerosis in Children

Clinically Isolated Syndrome

The first time a child experiences neurological symptoms that last at least 24 hours and are determined through diagnostic tests to be caused by inflammation and damage to the myelin sheath, this episode, or “attack,” is known as a clinically isolated syndrome. These attacks are the same as those that occur with MS, but a diagnosis of MS is not made until there are at least two attacks.

Some children may experience only one attack and not go on to develop MS. Depending on the results of testing, such as an MRI scan, our doctors can determine if your child is in the early stages of MS and likely to experience another attack. If symptoms recur, the condition is then referred to as relapsing-remitting MS.

Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

Children with relapsing-remitting MS have attacks that alternate with periods of remission. When symptoms appear, it’s described as a relapse. The child is considered to be in remission when symptoms subside, with or without treatment. Most children are diagnosed as having relapsing-remitting MS.

Typically, symptoms develop over the course of days and then spontaneously improve over weeks or months. Relapses can occur at any time, even after years of remission. Children often experience more frequent relapses than adults who have early MS, but they usually enter remission more quickly.

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