School performance and psychiatric morbidity 6 years after pediatric acute disseminated encephalomyelitis: A nationwide population-based cohort study

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BACKGROUND: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) can cause cognitive impairment in children. However, long-term consequences for school performance and psychiatric morbidity have never been characterized. Our aim was to investigate long-term school performance and psychiatric morbidity after pediatric ADEM (<18 years).

METHODS: We identified all children with ADEM 2008-2015 in Denmark using hospital diagnostic codes for acquired demyelinating syndromes. We reviewed all medical records to validate ADEM including blinded MRI review. Reference children were the entire pediatric (<18 years) population or randomly sampled sex and age-matched reference children. Outcomes were from nationwide population-based registers on special needs assistance, grade point average, highest completed education, in-hospital psychiatric hospital diagnoses, out-of-hospital psychiatric consultations or psychopharmacological drug prescriptions.

RESULTS: 52 children had ADEM (median onset age: 5.5 years; median age at follow-up end: 13.4 years). Secondary school grade point average was similar among children with ADEM and reference children; however, children with ADEM had increased psychiatric morbidity (hazard ratio = 2.4; 95% confidence interval = 1.2-5.1; p = 0.02), primarily due to increased drug prescriptions for sleep problems and depression.

CONCLUSION: Children with prior ADEM have increased sleep problems and possibly also depression; however, school performance is seemingly unaffected. Clinicians should consider problems with sleep and mood at follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101425
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 229372318