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Executive dysfunction is a predominant cognitive symptom in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). The Institute of Cognitive Neurology Frontal Screening (IFS) is a well-validated screening tool allowing the rapid assessment of multiple components of executive function in Spanish-speaking individuals. In this study, we examined performance on the IFS in subjects with cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), an inherited condition leading to the early onset of SVD. We further explored associations between performance on the IFS and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers of SVD.
We recruited 24 asymptomatic CADASIL subjects and 23 noncarriers from Colombia. All subjects underwent a research MRI and a neuropsychological evaluation, including the IFS. Structural MRI markers of SVD were quantified in each subject, together with an SVD Sum Score representing the overall burden of cerebrovascular alterations. General linear model, correlation, and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were used to explore group differences on the IFS and relationships with MRI markers of SVD.
CADASIL subjects had a significantly reduced performance on the IFS Total Score. Performance on the IFS correlated with all quantified markers of SVD, except for brain atrophy and perivascular spaces enlargement. Finally, while the IFS Total Score was not able to accurately discriminate between carriers and noncarriers, it showed adequate sensitivity and specificity in detecting the presence of multiple MRI markers of SVD.
These results suggest that the IFS may be a useful screening tool to assess executive function and disease severity in the context of SVD.
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