Diagnosis of pediatric MS is more challenging than in adults due to the commonality of symptoms and presentation with other childhood ailments.
Officially pediatric MS is diagnosed with the same standards as adult onset MS, two or more lesions (plaques) located in the brain, on the optic nerve or spinal cord separated in distance and time as defined by the 2010 McDonald Study.
90% of pediatric MS cases present as relapse remitting MS and can have 2-3 times the relapse rate.
Unfortunately almost 30% of pediatric MS patients demonstrate cognitive impairment, preventing full cognitive development and deficits that will last a lifetime.
Physical disability, however, progresses more slowly in pediatric MS patients, perhaps in part due to the remyelinating abilities of a growing body to repair damage to the myelin sheath, preventing axonal damage and impairment.