People with multiple sclerosis (MS) performed worse on memory tasks at baseline compared with controls, according to a recent study. 32 individuals with early-phase relapsing-remitting MS with mild physical disability and disease duration <10 years, plus 32 controls, were recruited. At baseline and after 3 years, participants completed neuropsychological tests evaluating several cognitive domains. The cognitive reserve (CR) was assessed via a cognitive reserve index (CRI) using educational levels and North American Adult Reading Test scores. Change in cognition was assessed using a reliable change index. Researchers found:
- At baseline, people with MS performed worse than controls on visual memory.
- There were no significant group differences on information processing speed, learning, language, and executive functions.
- Although people with MS and controls improved over time, beyond practice effects, people with MS improved less than controls.
- Most cognitive domains showed no change over time, and CRI was not a significant predictor in the regression model.
Barbu RM, Berard JA, Gresham LM, Walker LAS. Longitudinal stability of cognition in early-phase relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Does cognitive reserve play a role? Int J MS Care. 2018;20(4):173–179. doi:10.7224%2F1537-2073.2016-073.
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