Physical activity and pediatric multiple sclerosis: Developing a research agenda

E. Ann Yeh, Dominique Kinnett-Hopkins, Stephanie A. Grover, Robert W Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Three-quarters of children with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience fatigue or depression, and progressive neurocognitive decline may be seen as early as two years after MS diagnosis. Furthermore, a higher magnetic resonance imaging disease burden is seen in pediatric-onset MS compared with adult-onset MS. To date, limited knowledge exists regarding behavioral methods for managing symptoms and disease progression in pediatric MS. To that end, this paper builds an evidence-based argument for the possible symptomatic and disease-modifying effects of exercise and physical activity in pediatric MS. This will be accomplished through: (a) a review of pediatric MS and its consequences; (b) a brief overview of physical activity and its consequences in children and adults with MS; and (c) a selective review of research on the neurological benefits of physical activity in pediatric populations. This topical review concludes with a list of 10 questions to guide future research on physical activity and pediatric MS. The objective of this paper is the provision of a research interest, focus and agenda involving pediatric MS and its lifelong management though exercise and physical activity behavior. Such an agenda is critical as the effects and maintenance of physical activity and exercise track across the lifespan, particularly when developed in the early stages of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1618-1625
Number of pages8
JournalMultiple Sclerosis
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Pediatric
  • depression
  • exercise
  • fatigue
  • multiple sclerosis
  • outcome
  • physical activity
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical activity and pediatric multiple sclerosis: Developing a research agenda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this