National MS Society
Kid's International Support Org
Stony Brook University Hospital

Children Can Also Suffer From Multiple Sclerosis

(New York-WABC, October 14, 2002)   The first signs of Multiple Sclerosis usually appear after the age of 20. But children can also suffer from this disease and the initial symptoms can be very hard to diagnose. Now, Seven Is On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg. More children are now being diagnosed with a potentially crippling disease that is more commonly found in adult and that is MS or multiple sclerosis.

Most people are not aware that Multiple Sclerosis can also develop in a child, in an adolescent, or teenager. MS is a disease , which affects the brain and the nervous system. In adults it can be benign or debilitating. However, in children, doctors don't exactly know.

Vanessa Javor is a beautiful teenager and she's has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for two years.

She was just fifteen, when one day, her left eye lost much of its sight.

Vanessa Javor, Patient: "I was terrified I thought I was going blind."

It was the first symptom of MS.

Vanessa's sight returned and she was taken to the eye doctor.

Several other doctors later, Vanessa got the diagnosis that stunned her and her family. It was MS.

Javor: "I thought MS didn't happen to younger people. I thought it only happened to older people."

Dr. Lauren Krupp, Stony Brooke Medical: "Many doctors look at textbooks and it says MS occurs between 20 and 40, well, there are child as young as 6,10 and 13 who can get this disease."

In adults, Multiple Sclerosis can be fairly benign or it can be debilitating.

In children, it can affect things like memory and attention.

Children could fail to thrive an unfortunate condition because there are treatments that can help them.

Dr. Krupp: "It is critical to make that diagnosis early and get somebody under the treatment they need." Which is what Vanessa has gotten.

Nightly injections keep her disease so well controlled that she traveled alone to Europe last summer.

Javor: "I felt great all over that nothing bothered me."

How many children suffer from ms is not well known but the youngest child Dr. Krupp has seen was six years old. Stony Brooke Medical Center has begun the first MS pediatric clinic where they treat children and are researching how this disease develops in them.

Last Updated: Oct 14, 2002