More than half of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have impairment of thought (cognitive impairment). This has many different aspects, including slowed processing of information, or problems in planning a day.

One aspect of cognition, which is usually overlooked, is the ability to predict and interpret other people’s behaviour or their intentions. This is part of “social cognition” and is known as theory of mind.

In this study, led by the University of Manchester in UK, investigators looked at the published papers on social cognition and theory of mind in people with MS. They found 21 published studies, which in total included 722 people with MS.

They found that deficiencies in theory of mind and facial emotion recognition were more prevalent among people with MS compared to healthy volunteers who took part in the studies. The authors emphasise that this aspect of cognition has important effects on the quality of life of people with MS, and should be studied in more detail in future studies.

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