The duration and features of the multiple sclerosis (MS) prodrome are not well defined. We aimed to ascertain whether people with a future MS diagnosis have more days of absence and perform worse in upper secondary school than age, gender and county-matched controls.
Using registry data from the southeast of Norway, we identified people with MS born ≥1978. Statistics Norway provided information on grades and days of absence in cases and matched controls. We looked at absence in the three years of upper secondary school and grades in the compulsory subjects Norwegian, English, mathematics and physical education.
We identified 107 cases with disease onset one year or more after graduation and 626 controls. There were no significant differences in absence or grades achieved in the population as a whole or in those with disease onset within four years of diagnosis, and no association between time to disease onset and days of absence or grades.
There was no difference in days of absence or grades achieved in upper secondary school in the four years leading up to disease onset in cases compared to controls. A potential prodrome may not affect cognition enough to impact school achievements.

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