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New Study Signals Need for Attention to Mental Health Care in Mothers of Children with MS

January 17, 2020

Pediatric MS researchers in Canada found that anxiety/mood disorders were increased in a study of 156 mothers of children with MS, compared with 624 mothers of children without the disease, both before and after the MS diagnosis. The MS mothers were also more likely to use mental health care services before and after diagnosis. The study signals a need for all MS providers, and particularly pediatric MS health care providers, to be alert to the mental health concerns of mothers of children with MS.
  • Physical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, also were increased in the MS group before and after diagnosis. This mirrors findings in mothers of children with other health issues.
  • The authors suggest that increased utilization of mental health care before diagnosis may stem from stress brought on by the child experiencing early symptoms before diagnosis, but they don't have a proven explanation. 
  • The National MS Society provides a guide to help parents of children with MS.  Connecting with other parents can also help to navigate this uncertain time and feel empowered. Local support groups are listed on our website. Online groups include: MS Connection, Pediatric MS Alliance Facebook group for parents, and Oscar the MS Monkey Facebook Group.
Increased mental health care use by mothers of children with multiple sclerosis,” by Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD (University of Manitoba) and others in the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Network,  was published January 09, 2020 in Neurology.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

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