Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) in Children

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Contact the Department of Neurology

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) involves a brief but intense attack of inflammation (swelling) in the brain and spinal cord that damages the brain's myelin. Myelin is the protective covering of nerve fibers. Myelin is also called white matter due to its color. Because ADEM affects myelin, it is a type of a "demyelinating" disorder.

Some facts about Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM):

  • Although ADEM can occur at any age, children are more likely than adults to have it.
  • Most children make a complete or nearly complete recovery.
  • The main medication for treating ADEM is a type of steroid.
  • Most children tolerate the medication very well. 

How Boston Children’s approaches ADEM

Boston Children's Hospital treats ADEM at the Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders Program. Our program includes a pediatric neuropsychologist, a nurse and a social worker.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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