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United Spinal Association Report Reveals the Importance of Studying Multiple Sclerosis in Children: Developing New Insights into MS in Adults

NEW YORK, March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An article published in the Spring 2009 edition of Multiple Sclerosis Quarterly Report, a joint publication of United Spinal Association ( and the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS), reveals the importance of understanding the biological onset of Multiple Sclerosis in children as it can also lead to a greater understanding and treatment of MS in adults.

The article by Jean Marie B. Ahorro, MD and Brenda L. Banwell, MD of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario Canada, highlights some of the latest information on pediatric MS, including risk factors, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment strategies.

Presently, most care models for pediatric MS are based on protocols optimized in adults and pivotal studies of MS therapies are restricted to patients over 18 years of age. Conducting randomized control trials of pediatric MS has also been challenged by the rarity of the disease in children.

Brenda L Banwell, MD states, "By virtue of their young age, children are inherently closer to the biological onset of the MS disease process, and have a time-limited opportunity to have experienced irrelevant exposures. As such, research into MS triggers and understanding of the earliest aspects of immune dysregulation are particularly important in the pediatric MS population."

Banwell adds, "With respect to the International Pediatric MS initiative, I believe that the collective expertise will provide a strong rationale for prioritization of trials of MS- medication in pediatric MS, and will be essential to achieve the patient numbers required for such trials."

The authors discuss the benefits of creating pediatric-specific MRI diagnostic criteria that are more sensitive and specific to children since the appearance of pediatric MS is not entirely similar to that of adult-onset.

About United Spinal Association

United Spinal is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post polio. It has played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with spinal cord disorders.

SOURCE United Spinal Association
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