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Pediatric multiple sclerosis: analysis of clinical and epidemiological aspects according to National MS Society Consensus 2007.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of child/adolescence multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHOD: According to a descriptive, cohort study, with comparison of groups, data of 31 cases of child/adolescent MS, diagnosed at State Reference Center for Demyelinating Diseases-Hospital da Restauração, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, from 1987 to July 2007, were analyzed. The variables were: sex, initial symptoms, time for diagnosis, time of disease onset (early childhood, later childhood and adolescence), time of follow-up, number of relapses, relapses index and disability. Using SPSS software, version 13.0, t Student and Mann-Whitney tests were performed, with significance level of 0.05.

RESULTS: There were 3 (9.7%) cases of early childhood MS, 9 (29%), of late childhood MS, and 19 (61.3%), of adolescence MS. The general sex rate female: male was 1.8:1, varying according to age of onset. The predominant deficits were motor (12; 38.7%) and brainstem/cerebellum (7; 22.5%) especially on subsequent relapses of relapsing/remitting form. Time for diagnosis and average relapses index were higher in early childhood than in adolescence class (p=0.049 and p=0.028, respectively). Disability was higher for primary and secondary MS, as well as for early childhood.

CONCLUSION: Early childhood MS presents proper and different characteristics from adults, consisting in a difficult diagnosis that demands aid of expert neurologist on MS.

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