Radiologically isolated syndrome in children: Current knowledge and future directions

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2018 Aug;24:79-84. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2018.06.010. Epub 2018 Jun 21.


As the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) grows in clinical practice, clinicians are increasingly faced with the difficult task of interpreting the significance of incidental findings on brain MRI. Among individuals found to have incidental brain MRI findings, a small number have white matter abnormalities on MRI that resemble the demyelinating lesions of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the absence of a history of relevant clinical symptoms. This has been termed radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS). Recent years have seen growing interest in RIS, with observational studies that have specifically focused on answering questions regarding the subsequent risk of future clinical events and diagnosis of MS in adults and children with these findings. Given the high rate of subsequent clinical events seen in adult studies, knowledge related to RIS in children is paramount, particularly given the higher disease activity and burden in children with MS. This review examines this question, providing an overview of RIS with a focus on its significance in children including current definitions, its association with MS, and knowledge related to therapeutic interventions for RIS. We conclude with suggestions for an approach to assessment of and subsequent surveillance in children fulfilling criteria for RIS and directions for future study.

Keywords: Demyelination; Incidental findings; Multiple sclerosis; Pediatric.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*