Relevance of cognitive deterioration in early relapsing-remitting MS: a 3-year follow-up study
The aim of this study was to assess longitudinally cognitive functioning in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and its relationship with clinical and MRI variables. Amato MP, Portaccio E, Goretti B, Zipoli V, Iudice A, Della Pina D, Malentacchi G, Sabatini S, Annunziata P, Falcini M, Mazzoni M, Mortilla M, Fonda C, De Stefano N. Mult Scler. 2010 Aug 20. [Epub ahead of print]
Early RRMS patients and matched healthy controls were assessed in parallel in three testing sessions over 3 years, using a specific battery of neuropsychological tests. They also underwent an MRI analysis.
At baseline, cognitive impairment was detected in 15 patients (30.6%). After 3 years, cognitive functioning worsened in 29.3% of patients, whereas Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) progression was observed in only three patients. The most sensitive test to detect cognitive deterioration over time was the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT). Only the presence of moderate cognitive impairment at baseline predicted further cognitive deterioration (p = 0.03). Among MRI variables, T2LV showed a weak to moderate relationship with some cognitive tasks.
The authors concluded that a cognitive deterioration could be expected in approximately one-third of MS patients with relatively short disease duration.