MS Living Well Podcast: Multiple Sclerosis in Childhood

Jun 20 2023


Yes, children can get multiple sclerosis. Children ages 12 and up are more typically affected and rarely before age 8.  Awareness is essential for prompt diagnosis and treatment of pediatric-onset MS (POMS).  Accurate diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in children requires screening for other conditions like MOG antibody-associated disease (MOGAD). Risk factors associated with higher rates of developing MS in kids include Epstein-Barr virus infection, genetic susceptibility, pesticide exposure, smoking (and secondhand smoke), low vitamin D, obesity and diet high in saturated fats.

Multiple sclerosis in kids can be very active with frequent relapses and concerning MRI activity. Rapid use of highly effective treatment is important to preserve brain health including cognition. Completed and ongoing global pediatric trials are redefining care. Oral fingolimod, for example, reduced relapses by 82% compared to interferon beta-1a injections weekly. Thanks to treatment advancements, teens living with MS have a brighter future ahead of them.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Octave.

Barry Singer, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Brenda Banwell MD

Brenda Banwell MD is Chief of the Division of Neurology and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She is a Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, a pediatric neurology residency at the University of Toronto-The Hospital for Sick Children and a fellowship at Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Banwell advocates for pediatric multiple sclerosis patients as the Chair of the International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group and as Director of the International Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation.

Emmanuelle Waubant MD PhD

Emmanuelle Waubant MD, PhD is a Professor of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco and serves as director of the UCSF Regional Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. She studies environmental and genetic risk factors, including in children with the disease. A native of France, Dr. Waubant completed a residency in neurology at Toulouse University Hospital and a fellowship training in neuroimmunology at UCSF. She chairs the clinical trial task force and serves on the steering committee of the International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group.

BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: June 20, 2023 TOPIC: Podcasts