Navigation Links
Multiple Sclerosis Affects Children's Cognitive Skills

Low IQ more likely the younger a child is at diagnosis, study finds,,,,

MONDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Only about 5 percent of people with multiple sclerosis are diagnosed when they're children, but like adults with MS, the disease can affect cognitive function, causing memory and attention problems, and possibly low IQ scores.

And, the younger a child is at the time of diagnosis, the more likely he or she is to have a low IQ, according to new research published in the May 13 issue of the journal Neurology.

"In childhood cases, the impact of the disease on cognitive functioning may be more dramatic than that observed in adults," said study author Dr. Maria Pia Amato, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Florence, in Italy.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. The disease leads to the destruction of myelin -- a protective coating found on nerve cells. Without their myelin coating, the nerve cells can't efficiently send signals between the brain and other parts of the body. Within the brain, this can slow or stop nerve impulses, according to Nicholas LaRocca, vice president of health care delivery and policy research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Additionally, he said, MS can cause a gap in nerve fibers, and, in some cases, can actually cause brain tissue to shrink.

"The overall organization of the brain is being impaired," he said.

LaRocca's colleague, Rosalind Kalb, vice president of the professional resource center at NMSS, said most people describe the effects of the disorder as feeling as if their brain "has slowed way down."

"What that means for a child in a school situation is that if the incoming information is coming in faster than that person can process it, they won't remember it later, because they didn't get to process it effectively to begin with. So, they don't learn what they need to learn," said Kalb, who along with LaRocca wrote the book, Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenge.

An estimated 250,000 to 350,000 Americans are believed to have multiple sclerosis, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The course of the disease is highly unpredictable, with some people experiencing only mild symptoms, while others are disabled by it. Many people also have periods of remission, when they have no symptoms.

And, that same variability holds true for cognitive symptoms. "These kids aren't developmentally disabled. Some will experience problems, and some won't. They have to learn to use their strengths to compensate for the pockets of problems that can affect their learning," Kalb said.

Amato's study included 63 children with MS and 57 healthy "controls." They ranged in age from 8 to nearly 18, with an average age of 15. Each child completed numerous tests to assess different areas of cognitive function.

Thirty-one percent of the children with MS were deemed to have a cognitive impairment, which meant they failed at least three of the tests.

"Five patients (8 percent) exhibited a particularly low IQ, less than 70, and we found that a lower IQ was significantly associated with a younger age at onset. Only one case had an MS onset after 13 years of age, whereas in the remaining four children, MS started before 13 years of age," Amato said.

Additionally, she said, "MS negatively affected school and everyday activities in 56 percent of the subjects."

LaRocca said the findings are similar to what has been seen in adults, and what this study really does is "call attention to the fact that these youngsters need special attention and support. You'll find some functions affected, some severely, some mildly and some not at all, and you'll find certain strengths you can work with." For example, "if verbal memory is affected, but visual memory isn't, use more visual cues in teaching," he advised.

Amato added: "In general, treatment and support may help the [child] and the family to cope with psychosocial difficulties. Moreover, it is possible that brain plasticity, as well as reparative and compensatory abilities, may be more efficient in this age range. Therefore, early treatment strategies, both rehabilitative and pharmacological, may lead to a better outcome."

The study was funded, in part, by a grant from drug maker Biogen-Dompe, which produces medications for MS.

More information

To learn more about multiple sclerosis, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

SOURCES: Maria Pia Amato, M.D., associate professor, neurology, University of Florence, Italy; Rosalind Kalb, Ph.D., vice president, professional resource center, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City, and co-author, Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenge; Nicholas LaRocca, Ph.D., vice president, health care delivery and policy research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City, and co-author, Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenge; May 13, 2008, Neurology

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Cadient Group Continues Winning Streak; Receives Multiple Honors at 2008 Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing Excellence Awards
2. Cadient Group Receives Multiple Awards at 2008 DTC National Advertising Awards
3. Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis is One Thousand Steps Closer to a Cure for MS
4. The SCOOTER Store and Their Employees Contribute $43,000 in MS150 Bike Ride to Help Texans With Multiple Sclerosis
5. Increasing positive experiences decreases depression symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis
6. Natural Harmony Foods to Exhibit in Multiple Venues in 08
7. Schizophrenia Tied to Multiple Genetic Errors
8. Eye test peers into heat-related multiple sclerosis symptoms
9. Baby Madness is Sweeping the Nation! Forty Sets of Twins and Triplets Hit the Court in Discovery Healths BABY MADNESS: MULTIPLES
10. Publication of Clinical Results Underscores VELCADE(R) (Bortezomib) For Injection Based Therapy As a Standard of Care In Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma Patients
11. What Will You Do? Join the Movement to End Multiple Sclerosis During MS Awareness Week March 10-17
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, ... editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the title ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. Jessica ... Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include Mohs ... Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn Goldstein, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 ... ... helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic ... the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... awareness about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... for individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... with the American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer ... to seniors and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology ... outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 ... 30, 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A ... product of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will ... 6.0 is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Revolutionary technology includes ... Oticon , industry leaders in advanced audiology and hearing ... Oticon Opn ™, the world,s first internet connected hearing ... IoT devices.      (Photo: ... number of ,world firsts,: , TwinLink™ - ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANKLIN, Tenn. , June 23, 2016 ... for automating, integrating and transforming the patient ... launch of several innovative new products and ... depth of its revenue cycle offerings. These ... establish more efficient workflows, remain compliant in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: