June 24, 2003
In terms of major symptoms and the type of MS, childhood onset MS does not appear to differ significantly from adult MS onset, according to new research.
Investigators reviewed their own observations of 36 MS patients whose symptoms started before 16 years of age, with an average age at onset of 12.9 years. Patients were evaluated using the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale commonly used to measure MS progression.
A score of five or less on this scale usually means that the patient can walk independently for approximately 200 meters, while a person with a score above five can walk a shorter distance, may need assistance or may be unable to walk.
Study results indicated 18 patients had only one symptom of MS at the beginning of disease progression.
The most common beginning signs, which occurred in 27.7% of cases, included seeing double images of a single object and sensory disturbances. Twenty-one patients (59%) had the relapsing form of MS, and 11 subjects (30.5%) had the secondary progressive form of MS. On the last evaluation, 11 patients had an EDSS score above five, and 21 patients were below five.
This study can be found in the June issue of Brain Development.
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