MS Made Simple: Here’s How Your Age Will Affect Your Treatment Plan

Age can affect treatment plans for Multiple Sclerosis, but it really is more when people are on the extremes of age. So for our pediatric population, we literally just got a medication approved about a year ago for the pediatric population.

So sometimes our treatments are limited for children with MS, the youngest person that I’ve ever treated was nine years old. So obviously with side effects, we don’t do a lot of research in children. And so that can be a difficulty finding a good treatment for a child. And likewise, it can be difficult, um, to find treatment options for someone who is more mature.

As I’d like to say, my definition of old changes over time, but if someone is more mature or over the age of 55 many of our research studies only test people between the ages of 18 and 55 so it’s very difficult to know the effects of medications on that end of the spectrum if people are over that age and especially if they’re over 65 the other thing we have to take in account for our older patients are that our immune system does change over time.

So not only do our bodies age but our immune systems age and we have to account for the differences and how the immune system changes and our susceptibility to things like infection and factor that in when we’re talking about our medications, which can also potentially lead to infection because they’re suppressing or affecting the immune function.

Dr. Mitzi Joi Williams is a top neurologist and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Specialist in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University and her Doctor of Medicine degree from Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Williams completed her internship and residency in neurology as well as a Clinical Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. Dr. Williams has a strong interest in understanding and furthering research in MS in ethnic minority populations. She is a sought-after speaker and presenter and has discussed her research both nationally and internationally at various scientific meetings. She has spearheaded and participated in multiple Steering Committees and Work Groups to further research in underserved population with MS. She also has recently increased involvement in efforts to increase diversity in clinical research and educate the community about the importance of research participation. Dr. Williams is the author of MS Made Simple: The Essential Guide to Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis. Because of her passion for teaching and advocacy.