However, she added, "The incidence of MS is very, very low in children. We are not seeing an epidemic of pediatric MS in concert with increase in childhood obesity."
Another expert agreed that MS is unusual in kids.
Dr. Karen Blitz-Shabbir, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y, said many MS symptoms come and go over time, so they may be missed in kids.
"This study puts pediatric MS on our radar, but I don't think it is something to worry about," she said. "All children are at very low risk for MS."
As co-director of the Obesity Institute at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dr. Evan Nadler is on the front line of the childhood obesity epidemic. "It is pretty well established that chronic inflammation can have deleterious effects on other organ systems such as the brain," he said.
While noting that more study is needed to establish a relationship between childhood obesity and MS, he added that "this is one more reason to prevent children from becoming obese."
Learn more about childhood MS at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
SOURCESS: Annette Langer-Gould, M.D., Ph.D., neurologist, Kaiser Permanente, Southern California, Pasadena, Calif.; Nancy L. Sicotte, M.D., director, multiple sclerosis program, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; Stephen J. Thompson, M.D., chief, pediatric neurology, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, N.J.; Karen Blitz-Shabbir, M.D., director, Multiple Sclerosis Center, Cushing Neuroscience Institu
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