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Cognitive and Behavioral Functioning in Childhood Acquired Demyelinating Syndromes

Full Title: Cognitive and Behavioral Functioning in Childhood Acquired Demyelinating Syndromes

Till C, Nogeura A, Verhey LH, O’Mahony J, Yeh A, Mah J, Sinopoli KJ, Brooks BL, Aubert-Broche B, Collins DL, Narayana S, Arnold D, Banwell BL.

Journal of International Neuropsychological Society



The aim of this study was to describe cognitive, academic, and psychosocial outcomes after an incident demyelinating event (acquired demyelinating syndromes, ADS) in childhood and to investigate the contribution of brain lesions and confirmed MS diagnosis on outcome.


Thirty-six patients with ADS (mean age=12.2 years, SD=2.7, range: 7–16 years) underwent brain MRI scans at presentation and at 6-months follow-up. T2-weighted lesions on MRI were assessed using a binary classification. At 6-months follow-up, patients underwent neuropsychological evaluation and were compared with 42 healthy controls.


Cognitive, academic, and behavioral outcomes did not differ between the patients with ADS and controls. Three of 36 patients (8.3%) were identified with cognitive impairment, as determined by performance falling ≤1.5 SD below normative values on more than four independent tests in the battery. Poor performance on a visuomotor integration task was most common, observed among 6/32 patients, but this did not differ significantly from controls. Twelve of 36 patients received a diagnosis of MS within 3 years post-ADS. Patients with MS did not differ from children with monophasic ADS in terms of cognitive performance at the 6-months follow-up. Fatigue symptoms were reported in 50% of patients, irrespective of MS diagnosis. Presence of brain lesions at onset and 6 months post-incident demyelinating event did not associate with cognitive outcome.


Children with ADS experience a favorable short-term neurocognitive outcome, even those confirmed to have MS. Longitudinal evaluations of children with monophasic ADS and MS are required to determine the possibility of late-emerging sequelae and their time course. (JINS, 2016, 22, 1050–1060)


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