Relationship between age at onset and structural alterations in MS

Takeaway

  • Age at disease onset has a significant effect on pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS); younger patients initially present with limited MS-related damage that progresses with loss of white matter (WM) integrity, followed by gray matter (GM) atrophy, then disability.

Why this matters

  • While several studies have evaluated pathophysiological processes involved in MS, interpretation of their results has been limited by confounding effects of age or disease duration (DD).

  • The present study used a large cohort of healthy controls (HC) to remove MS-independent effects of age and sex from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) variables to evaluate MS pathophysiology.

  • This study supports application of disease modifying treatments (DMT) early in the disease process for pediatric-onset MS (POMS) patients, to mitigate neuroaxonal damage.