Multiple sclerosis (MS) is often associated with cognitive deficits. Accurate evaluation of the MS patients’ cognitive performance is essential for diagnosis and treatment recommendation. The Brief International Cognitive Assessment in Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS), widely used cognitive testing battery, examines processing speed, verbal and visuospatial learning, and memory. Our study aims to examine the psychometric properties of an Arabic version of the BICAMS and to provide normative values in a Lebanese sample.
The BICAMS, comprised of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R), and a newly developed verbal learning/memory test, the Verbal Memory Arabic Test (VMAT), were administered on healthy subjects and MS patients. The sample consisted of 180 healthy individuals, of whom 63 were retested after 2–3 weeks. Forty-three MS patients matched with 43 healthy subjects based on age, sex, and years of education were assessed. A sample of 10 MS patients was also examined on two occasions. Test–retest reliability and criterion-related validity were examined, and regression-based norms were derived.
The test–retest correlations showed good evidence of reliability with coefficients ranging between 0.64 and 0.73 in the healthy sample, and between 0.43 and 0.92 in the MS sample. The BICAMS was able to discriminate between MS patients and matched healthy participants on the SDMT and BVMT-R. Normative data were comparable to other studies.
This new Arabic version of the BICAMS shows initial good psychometric properties. While good evidence of VMAT’s reliability was shown in the healthy participants, less test–retest reliability in this tool was seen in the MS group, and partial criterion-related validity was evident. This renders further examination of the VMAT. We provide regression-based norms for a Lebanese sample and encourage the use of this battery in both research and clinical settings.