ABSTRACT: The natural history of cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its relationship with disease activity is not well known. In this study, we evaluate a prospective cohort of 44 MS patients who were followed every 3 months for 2 years. Cognitive evaluation was done at baseline and by the end of the study using the Brief Repeatable Battery-Neuropsychology. Clinical evaluation included assessment of new relapses and changes in disability (Extended Disability Status Scale (EDSS)) confirmed at 6 months.
We found that verbal memory performance deteriorates after 2 years in patients with MS. These changes were observed in stable and active patients both in terms of relapses and disability progression, even at the beginning of the disease, and in patients with or without cognitive impairment at study entry. Attention and executive functions measured with the symbol digit modality test (SDMT) declined after 2 years in patients with confirmed disability progression. Furthermore, SDMT performance correlated with the EDSS change.
Our findings indicate that verbal memory steadily declines in patients with MS from the beginning of the disease and independently of other parameters of disease activity.
Multiple Sclerosis 07/2008; 14(7):947-53. · 4.26 Impact Factor