Cognitive impact of pediatric multiple sclerosis varies by race, UAB research findsDecember 6, 2010
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects some cognitive functions more severely in black children than white children, according to newly published research from an interdisciplinary team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The UAB researchers say the study, published in the Dec. 7, 2010, issue of Neurology, is the first to reveal that the severity of cognitive difficulties in pediatric MS may vary between black and white children. The results provide valuable insight that could help individualize treatments for children suffering from the disease.
"We don't yet understand the biological reasons, but the bottom line is treatment options must be re-evaluated and be aggressive enough, especially with black patients, to prolong quality of life for as long as possible," says Kelly Ross, M.A, a psychology doctoral degree candidate in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences and lead author of the study.
MS is a chronic neurological disorder of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, which can cause subtle but debilitating impairments in learning and cognition and more apparent disruptions of motor control. Although MS in children is much less common than in adults, the disease may impact cognitive function more in read more