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Racial Disparity Seen in Pediatric-Onset MS Patients

Last Updated: December 13, 2010.

African-American children with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis may experience greater impairment of certain cognitive functions than their Caucasian peers, according to research published in the Dec. 7 issue of Neurology.

MONDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- African-American children with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (POMS) may experience greater impairment of certain cognitive functions than their Caucasian peers, according to research published in the Dec. 7 issue of Neurology.

Kelly A. Ross, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues tested 42 patients with POMS, 20 of whom were African-American and 22 of whom were Caucasian, to examine domain-specific neurocognitive differences between the two subsets.

The researchers found that the two groups were the same in terms of age, gender, socioeconomic status, disease duration, immunoglobulin G index, and number of relapses in the first two years; however, the African-American cohort performed worse than the Caucasian group on measures of language and complex attention when some of these variables were retained as covariates in regression analysis.

"African-American patients with POMS may be at higher risk for adverse cognitive impact in the areas of language and complex attention. Longitudinal characterization of cognitive pathology is critical for the development of effective intervention strategies to prolong cognitive functioning in POMS cohorts," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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