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Cognitive impairment in relapsing and primary progressive multiple sclerosis: Mostly a matter of speed

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 2004

DOUGLAS R. DENNEY
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
SHARON G. LYNCH
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas
BRETT A. PARMENTER
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
NIKKI HORNE
Affiliation:
Joint PhD Program San Diego State University–University of California, San Diego

Abstract

Based on the assumption that cognitive impairment in MS is consistent with subcortical dementia, a battery of neuropsychological tests was assembled that included measures of executive function (Tower of London and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test), verbal learning and memory (a paired associates learning test), and speeded information processing (Stroop Color Word Interference Test). The battery was administered to patients with relapsing and primary progressive MS and to healthy controls. Differences between patients and controls occurred on several of the measures. However, when differences with respect to fatigue and depression were statistically controlled, the only differences that remained significant involved measures relating to the speed of information processing. Patients performed more slowly than controls, with the disparity being greater for relapsing patients than for those with primary progressive disease. The slowing was evident on measures of automatic as well as controlled processing and regardless of whether speed was an explicit feature of successful performance or recorded unobstrusively while the patient concentrated on planning a correct solution to a problem. Parallels were noted between cognitive slowing associated with MS and that of normal aging. (JINS, 2004, 10, 948–956.)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2004 The International Neuropsychological Society

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