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Persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) are at increased risk for cognitive dysfunction. Considering the impact and potential ramifications of cognitive dysfunction, it is important that cognition is routinely assessed in PwMS. Thus, it is also important to identify a screener that is accurate and sensitive to MS-related cognitive difficulties, which can inform decisions for more resource-intensive neuropsychological testing. However, research focused on available self-report screeners has been mixed, such as with the Multiple Sclerosis Neuropsychological Screening Questionnaire (MSNQ). This study aims to clarify the relationship between subjective and objective assessment of cognitive functioning in MS by examining domain-specific performance and intraindividual variability (IIV).
87 PwMS (F = 65, M = 22) completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery which included self- and informant-report measures of neurocognitive functioning. Scores were examined in relation to mean performance on five domains of cognitive functioning and two measures of IIV.
The MSNQ-Self was inversely associated with executive function, verbal memory, and visual memory; it was not associated with IIV. The MSNQ-Informant was inversely associated with executive function and verbal memory, and positively associated with one measure of IIV. The MSNQ-Self showed a correlation of moderate effect size with depression (r = .39) while the MSNQ-Informant did not.
Results suggest that the MSNQ-Self and MSNQ-Informant show similar utility. Our findings also suggest that domains of executive function and memory may be most salient, thus more reflected in subjective reports of cognitive functioning. Future work should further examine the impact of mood disturbance with cognitive performance and IIV.
The purpose of this study was to examine sex differences in neuropsychological functioning after sports-related concussion using several approaches to assess cognition: mean performance, number of impaired scores, and intraindividual variability (IIV).
In the study, 152 concussed college athletes were administered a battery of neuropsychological tests, on average, 10 days post-concussion (SD = 12.75; Mdn = 4 days; Range = 0–72 days). Mean performance was evaluated across 18 individual neuropsychological variables, and the total number of impaired test scores (>1.5 SD below the mean) was calculated for each athlete. Two measures of IIV were also computed: an intraindividual standard deviation (ISD) score and a maximum discrepancy (MD) score.
Analyses of covariance revealed that, compared with males, females had significantly more impaired scores and showed greater variability on both IIV indices (ISD and MD scores) after adjusting for time since injury and post-concussive symptoms. In contrast, no significant effects of sex were found when examining mean neuropsychological performance.
Although females and males demonstrated similar mean performance following concussion, females exhibited a greater level of cognitive impairment and larger inconsistencies in cognitive performance than males. These results suggest that evaluating cognitive indices beyond mean neuropsychological scores may provide valuable information when determining the extent of post-concussion cognitive dysfunction.
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