Our research team consists of two neuropsychologists (Efthymiopoulou Faih & Pantinaki Stavroula) and a neurologist (Bougea Anastasia) with many years of experience in MS. We proceeded to the following study with the aim to investigate the cognitive 5-year course of patients with relapsing–remitting (RR), secondary progressive (SP), primary progressive (PP) multiple sclerosis, and patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) relative to control participants in the Greek population. Several cross-sectional studies report cognitive decline in multiple sclerosis (MS), but longitudinal studies with sufficiently long-term follow-up are still lacking.
The participants were RR patients (N= 80), SP patients (N= 42), PP patients (N= 28), CIS patients (N= 48), and healthy control subjects (N= 50). Were assessed by the Brief Repeatable Battery of Neuropsychological Tests (BRBN), stroop and trail making test by neuropsychologists.
According to our results a total of 47 patients (46.6%) were defined as cognitively impaired at baseline on at least one test, and 53 (37.9%) were defined as impaired at follow-up after 72 months. Logistic regression models showed that each standard deviation slower baseline information processing speed (IPS) or decline in IPS over time increased the likelihood of incident dementia (odds ratios 1.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.31-1.98; and 2.44, 95% CI 2.12-3.14, respectively). Mixed-effects models revealed statistical interactions of time with dementia on change in verbal learning /memory capacity and executive functions (EF) of CIS and RRMS patients, such that those who developed dementia showed accelerated decline.
In conclusion memory and executive functions deficits seem to be more frequent in the CIS and RRMS progression, although IPS seems to appear early and progress slowly. The pattern of cognitive dysfunction in patients with CIS is similar with relative sparing of verbal learning.
*The study was published by the authors Faih Efthymiopoulou, Stavroula Pantinaki and Anastasia Bougea at the European Academy of Neurology congress , 2021.
Neuropsychologist MSc, PhDc