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Cognitive Impairment in Relapsing Remitting and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Patients: Efficacy of a Computerized Cognitive Screening Battery

DOI: 10.1155/2014/151379

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Objective. To investigate the pattern of cognitive impairment in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) patients using a computerized battery. Methods. RRMS patients , SPMS patients , and controls were assessed by Central Nervous System Vital Signs (CNS VS) computerized battery, Trail Making Tests (TMT) A and B, and semantic and phonological verbal fluency tasks. Results. The overall prevalence of cognitive dysfunction was 53.75% (RRMS 38%, SPMS 80%). RRMS patients differed from controls with large effect size on reaction time, medium effect size on TMT A and small on TMT B, phonological verbal fluency, composite memory, psychomotor speed, and cognitive flexibility. SPMS patients differed from controls in all neuropsychological measures (except complex attention) with large effect sizes on TMT A and B, phonological verbal fluency, composite memory, psychomotor speed, reaction time, and cognitive flexibility. Between patient groups, medium effect sizes were present on TMT B and psychomotor speed, while small effect sizes were present on composite memory and processing speed. Conclusion. CNS VS is sensitive in detecting cognitive impairment in RRMS and SPMS patients. Significant impairment in episodic memory, executive function, and processing speed were identified, with gradual increment of the frequency as disease progresses. 1. Introduction The functional consequences of cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients can be devastating. Cognitive impairment has a direct impact on health-related quality of life at all stages of MS [1]. It reduces physical independence and social activities [2], competence in daily activities [3], personal and community independence [4], medication adherence [5], rehabilitation potential [6], and driving safety [7]. Cognitive impaired MS patients are more likely to be unemployed, while employed MS patients are cognitive preserved [8]. Large studies of MS patients have reported cognitive impairment prevalence rates between 40 and 70% [9, 10]. Cognitive impairment has been demonstrated at all stages and in all subtypes of the disease: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), and even benign multiple sclerosis [11]. However, the more severe levels of cognitive impairment tend to occur in the progressive phase [12]. Although almost all types of cognitive deficits can be observed in MS [13], the typical profile is

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