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The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Consensus Neuropsychological Battery for Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis (NBPMS) was designed to detect cognitive impairment in children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis. One weakness of the battery is the reliance on published manual-based normative samples varying in size and quality. These primary sources base interpretation on discrete age bands, a practice which may be particularly problematic during periods of rapid development in childhood and adolescence. A further impediment to valid NBPMS interpretation is the lack of control for demographic factors other than age. We endeavored to develop regression-based norms for the NBPMS by gathering a demographically balanced sample of 102 healthy control children and using their performance to derive normalization, controlling for multiple demographic variables (i.e., age, age2, gender, parent education). The regression-based normative equations were applied to the performance of 51 children with MS. For many of the major test scores, the regression-based norms more readily detected impairment. As in the case of adult MS, these results indicate that regression-based norms offer interpretive benefits over their manual-based counterparts.
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