Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Funded Research

Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis: Prevalence to Prodrome (ProMS-Peds)

Year Awarded: 2021

Term: 4 years

Funding Amount: $282,000

Affiliation(s): University of British Columbia

Province(s): British Columbia

Researcher(s): Dr. Helen Tremlett

Impact Goal(s): Prevent MS

Background: Recognizing and diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) in children and youth can be challenging. There is a need for better evidence that helps doctors and researchers recognize when MS actually starts, recognizing the earliest warning signs of the disease, in order to provide prompt treatment for children and youth who develop MS.

Overview: This research aims to establish a clinically relevant framework for the surveillance of pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (PoMS) and to advance recognition and understanding of the earliest clinical manifestations of PoMS. First, the researchers will identify the incidence (risk) and prevalence (burden) of PoMS in different regions, in Canada and in Europe. Then they will then establish the existence of a symptomatic ‘prodromal period’– the period before MS is diagnosed that identifies a ‘pre-MS trait’ that can occur months or possibly years before MS symptoms are recognized. The prodromal period for PoMS will be described objectively using health care data (e.g. medical care before diagnosis, physician and hospital visits, diagnoses, medicines prescribed, etc.) collected for over two decades. The data from PoMS will be compared to children and youth of similar ages without MS in the general population.

Impact: The overall goal of this research is to better understand MS in children and youth. Findings from this work are needed to ensure enough healthcare resources are allocated for children and youth with MS and their families. Additionally, this work will help researchers better understand risk factors leading to the development of MS and the earliest signs of MS.

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