People with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (MS) are more likely to have classic cognitive impairment than people with adult-onset MS of similar age or disease duration. Social cognition may be affected in people with MS onset at age ≤15 years.
Why this matters
Although most people develop MS in young adulthood, a significant minority (3 to 10%) experience disease onset in childhood. Several differences have emerged in people with pediatric- versus adult-onset MS, including in clinical manifestations and inflammatory activity, but also in cognition.
Social cognition, including the Theory of Mind (ToM), may be particularly affected in people with MS. Due to the critical phases of brain growth, myelination, and neural network maturation that occur during childhood, it is important to understand how age of onset may affect cognition in adult life.