Five young patients are described with biopsy-proven acute demyelinating disease. Two cases are classified as Schilder's disease, a particular childhood form of multiple sclerosis (MS) with atypical clinical manifestation, normal or atypical CSF-findings and large bilateral lesions in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Two further cases presented with a fulminant bout of MS with typical clinical picture and CSF-findings; they are classified as Marburg's disease. The last case was an acute second bout of classical MS. The biopsy seemed to be justified in 4 cases, but unnecessary in the last case. Localized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) performed in one case allowed us to examine the focal cerebral abnormalities directly and non-invasively. The spectra revealed a pattern typical of acute demyelination suggesting potential for a replacement of biopsy in the future.