A study has found that MRI scans can detect MS in children at its early stages, which allows the condition to be diagnosed and treated sooner.
The study, “Radiologically isolated syndrome in children”, was published in the journal Neurology. Scientists set out to describe and identify the radiological outcome of children with incidental findings on neuroimaging suggestive of central nervous system (CNS) demyelination (termed radiologically isolated syndrome or RIS).
Clinical and radiological data were obtained from a historical cohort of children with no symptoms of demyelinating disease and who had MRI scans that met the 2010 MRI criteria for dissemination in space for MS.
The scientists identified 38 children (27 girls and 11 boys) with RIS now being prospectively followed at 16 sites in six countries. MRIs can reveal changes in the brain associated with MS before the clinical symptoms of the disease appear in children. The most common reason for the initial MRI in these paediatric patients was headache. The first clinical event consistent with CNS demyelination occurred in 16 out of 38 children within two years of the initial MRI. Children who were found to have a specific marker in their spinal fluid or who had MRI changes in the spinal cord, were at greater risk of developing clinical symptoms of MS.
The scientists concluded that they had described the clinical characteristics and outcomes of children with incidental MRI findings highly suggestive of central nervous system demyelination. Children with RIS had a substantial risk of subsequent clinical MS symptoms and/or radiologic evolution.