Preserving Cognitive Status in Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis: Kimberly O’Neill, MD


The pediatric neuroimmunology fellow at NYU Langone provided perspective on a study presented at AAN 2023 comparing cognitive trajectories of pediatric and adult multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"There are rates of cognitive impairment in general population, and so, anyone would need those resources [neuroevaluation]. It might not even be specific to pediatric MS. Just working with the families to get any patients or children the help they need."

Although cognitive impairment has been well established in adult patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), studies on its occurrence in patients with pediatric-onset MS have produced mixed results. Led by Kimberly O’Neill, MD, a new analysis compared the longitudinal cognitive performance of pediatric patients with relapsing-remitting MS (n = 71), pediatric healthy controls (HC; n = 99), and adults with relapsing-remitting MS (n = 66). Each patient underwent a cognitive screening battery at baseline, most of which returned for a follow-up after a mean of 2.15 years.

Presented at the 2023 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 22-27, in Boston, Massachusetts, findings showed no difference in change in z-scores for pediatric patients with MS from pediatric controls on the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS (BICAMS) or Cogstate batteries. Pediatric vs adult cases showed no differences in mean change in z-scores, except on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, where both pediatric patients with MS and pediatric controls decline to a greater degree than adults with MS (P = .007).

At the meeting, O’Neill, a pediatric neuroimmunology fellow at NYU Langone, sat down to discuss her findings and reaction to the similar cognitive profiles of pediatric and adult MS. Additionally, she provided commentary about the current measures used to evaluate cognition in pediatric populations, and whether clinicians should be tailoring approaches to reduce long-term cognitive decline.

Click here for more coverage of AAN 2023.

O’Neill K, Charvet L, Waltz M, et al. Longitudinal cognitive screening findings in pediatric MS vs pediatric controls and adult MS in a multicenter cohort. Presented at: 2023 AAN Annual Meeting; April 22-27; Boston, MA.
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