Posted by: Thixia | May 22, 2008

MS Can Affect Children’s IQ, Thinking Skills



Those under 18 years of age who have Multiple Sclerosis have more than the disease to cope with.  I am sure it is much harder for these kids to accept their disease than those of us who were diagnosed with MS at a later stage in life.  These courageous kids may be missing out on several things in life as they grow older.  Now there are findings that their IQ scores may be lower and they may have language problems. 


It is imperative that these kids be able to start some sort of therapy for MS.  I know that there has not been a lot of testing of the different therapies and medications on children.  We, as a group have to push the pharmaceutical companies to become active in testing their medicine on younger and younger age groups.  The problem is:  how many parents want their children to be in these clinical trials? 


I find this to be a real dilemma.  If you have any thing to add to this, or ideas on how we can face the issue.  We also have to educate the doctors that young children can have MS.  These kids are not hypochondriacs any more than the rest of us with MS are.  Their parents are not alarmists.  These are sick kids, their parent’s know their children and are very concerned about what is happening to their kids. 


Parents, please never, quit encouraging doctors to make the proper diagnosis.  Take print-outs of all the pertinent information that you can find.  Arm yourself for these appointment.


Talk to your children, explain the problems with those in charge of diagnosing their illness.  Tell the kids your own fears.  They sense your feeling any way, your silence creates wild imaginings that can be far worse than reality, in your children’s minds.  It is very import to talk this out.  Their fears and worry’s about you may inhibit their studies and everyday life.


Explain the situation to their teachers.  Illicit the teachers’ help, lay out your fears.  Again go armed with hand-outs for each teacher who you talk to.  Ask these teachers to assist your child as much as possible with their school work.





Below is the findings of a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology





Multiple sclerosis (MS) typically starts in young adulthood, but about five percent of cases start in childhood or the teen years.  Children with MS are at risk to exhibit low IQ scores and problems with memory, attention, and other thinking skills, according to a study published in the May 13, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


Children who developed the disease at a younger age were more likely to have low IQ scores than children who were older when the disease started.


“It’s possible that MS can show an even more dramatic effect on the thinking skills and intelligence in children than in adults, since the disease might affect the brain at a time when it is still developing,” said study author Maria Pia Amato, MD, of the University of Florence in Italy.


For the study, 63 children under age 18 with MS were compared to 57 healthy children of similar ages. The participants were given 17 tests to measure their overall:


·    intelligence,

·    memory,

·    language abilities, and

·    other thinking skills.


·    5 of the children with MS had very low IQ scores of less than 70; none of the healthy children had a score less than 70.

·    15 of the children with MS had IQ scores between 70 and 89, compared to two of the healthy children.

·    19 children with MS (31 percent) met the criteria for cognitive impairment by failing at least three of the tests, while less than five percent of the healthy children failed at least three tests.



Unanswered questions from this study include the effects (positive or negative) of MS medications on cognitive function. Also, the possible role of depression in these findings was not systematically assessed.


About 30 percent of the children with MS also had language difficulties, which is not common in adults with MS. “Since the disease occurs during a critical phase for language development, children may be particularly vulnerable to language problems,” Amato said.


Amato said information about the effect of MS on the thinking skills in children and teenagers has been limited. “We need to understand how the disease affects kids so we can help them manage their difficulties and academic challenges,” she said.


The study was supported in part by a grant from Biogen-Dompè, a manufacturer of medications for MS.


The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.





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