The Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center, led by Jennifer Graves, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.S., coordinates multidisciplinary care for children living with multiple sclerosis and related diseases.
Among the neuro-immunological conditions we treat for pediatric patients, in addition to multiple sclerosis, are:
- Optic neuritis
- Transverse myelitis
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Neuromyelitis optica (NMO)
- Anti-MOG antibody related demyelination
MS treatment at the Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center involves three key components after diagnosis: disease modification therapies, which typically modulate immune system function to prevent further MS activity; symptom management, including therapies for pain, fatigue, weakness and stiffness; and wellness promotion, consisting of exercise, diet and lifestyle modifications.
Here at the center for pediatric patients, we use immune-based disease modifying therapies to limit the acute attacks of MS and prevent further damage to the brain, spinal cord or optic nerves. These are advanced therapies that aim to prevent the immune system from attacking the nerve cells of pediatric MS patients.
Dr. Graves, who is a trained neuro-ophthalmologist, also offers neuro-ophthalmological treatment.
Along with coordinating state-of-the-art care for pediatric patients, we will have an active research program. As a scientific member of the U.S. Network of Pediatric MS Centers, we will be participating in exciting projects, from identifying new risk factors for the disease to developing new treatment options.
The pediatric MS clinic is held Monday mornings from 9-12:30 a.m. on the main campus of Rady Children’s Hospital.
Nelson Pavilion, 3rd Floor (Map it)
8001 Frost Street
San Diego, CA 92123
National MS Society
Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation (fundraising for neuromyelitis optica)
Rady Children’s Kite Insights Blog
- Explore the Rady Children’s Hospital Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center with Director Jennifer Graves, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.S.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that is triggered by both genetic and environmental risk factors. MS affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves of pediatric MS patients. Symptoms range from numbness or weakness in the limbs to vision loss or trouble with bowel and bladder function. Everybody’s experience with MS is different regardless of symptoms; some have mild disease while others have more advanced disease.
The center typically diagnoses MS based on a combination of clinical symptoms and findings as well as magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spinal cord. In some cases, there is testing for factors in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid that contribute to diagnoses.
Nearly a million people are living with MS in the United States; about 5 percent of these individuals developed the disease during childhood.