Research: fatigue and depression in children

Epub: Parrish et al. Fatigue and Depression in Children With Demyelinating Disorders. J Child Neurol. 2012 Jul .

Background: Fatigue and depression have been shown to be significant problems in children with multiple sclerosis. 

Objective: To ascertain the rate at which these conditions occur in children with other acquired demyelinating syndromes. 

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the authors evaluated 49 children with demyelinating disorders (multiple sclerosis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) and 92 healthy controls for depression and/or fatigue using the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition behavior and mood rating scale and Varni PedsQL Multidimensional Fatigue Scale. 

Results: The parents of acquired demyelinating syndrome patients were more likely to report elevated depressive symptoms (30.8% vs 10.8%, P = .008). Elevated parent and self-reported total fatigue (25% vs 0%, P < .001, 26.7% vs 8.6%, P = .024) was seen in the patient cohort. 

Conclusions: Fatigue and depression are far more common in children with acquired demyelinating syndromes than in controls. Clinical attention to and implementation of effective therapies oriented toward these conditions in children with acquired demyelinating syndromes is needed.

"The results of this study are not surprising and mirror what we see in the adult population. Fatigue and depression need to be taken very seriously and managed pro-actively. If you are a parent of child with MS and they appear depressed and/or fatigued please make sure the neurological team know about it!"