Cognitive impairment differs between primary progressive and relapsing-remitting MS

This study from France looked at the cognitive abilities of patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS) and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) compared with healthy controls and compared the cognitive patterns of these types of MS.

In this cross sectional study, 41 PPMS patients, 60 RRMS patients and 415 healthy controls (HC) were recruited. The controls were divided into 20 groups based on age, sex and education level. A large battery of neuropsychological (NP) tests were performed on the participants including the modified version of the Brief Repeatable Battery, the Stroop test, computerised tests from the Test of Attentional Performance battery, the numerical span test and the Rey Complex Figure.

They found that patients with PPMS performed worse than matched HC. Patients with PPMS presented with a wide range of cognitive deficits in information processing speed, attention, working memory, executive function and verbal episodic memory. Patients with RRMS performed worse than matched controls on a computerised digit-symbol substitution task and alertness test, reaction time for visual scanning, and Paced-Auditory Serial Addition Test-3 seconds. Therefore the impairment in patients with RRMS was limited to information processing speed and working memory.

Overall this shows that patients with PPMS had worse NP scores and were more impaired in cognitive domains than patients with RRMS.

Authors: Ruet A, Deloire M, Charré-Morin J,

Source: Neurology. 2013 Mar 20. [Epub ahead of print]

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