Brain Dev 2003 Jun;25(4):229-32
Department of Neurology, Meir General Hospital Kfar-Saba, 44281, Kfar-Saba, Israel
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is traditionally the domain of adult neurologists due to its characteristic presentation during early adult life.
Although descriptions of infants with MS appeared in the beginning of the last century and the first autopsy was described even earlier, it was not until 1980 that childhood onset MS was recognized and subsequently well characterized.
In spite of this, the awareness of pediatricians and pediatric neurologists to the occurrence of MS especially in infants and young children is still unsatisfactory.
It is not infrequent that a meticulous, time consuming and costly search for metabolic and degenerative disorders other that MS is initiated before the diagnosis of MS is considered.
This leads to a significant diagnostic and therapeutic delay in many young patients.
Moreover, when the presentation is acute and characterized by confusion, seizures, CSF pleocytosis following a viral infection, a diagnosis of meningoencephalitis will be frequently reached.
In this review, updated data on frequency, epidemiology, some special clinical and radiological features of childhood onset MS, outcome and treatment will be briefly discussed with the purpose of alerting physicians to the possibility of the occurrence of MS even in infants and young children.