ABSTRACTThe aim of this study was to investigate cognitive dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis. I have mainly focused on symptoms, prevalence and development of cognitive impairment.
Cognitive dysfunction is one of the symptoms in multiple sclerosis. There are inconsistent reports on the prevalence. Previous studies estimate the frequency to about 65%, while a recent study rate 31%. MS patients are frequently impaired on tests of memory-function, information-prosessing-speed, sustained attention, executive function, verbal fluency, conceptual reasoning and visuo-spatial perception. General intelligence and language are less often affected. Performance on cognitive tasks can be affected by mood. Depressive symptomatology is common in MS.
There is evidence that cognitive problems may exist when the first symptoms of demyelination occur. Some studies therefore conclude that there is no correlation between duration of illness and cognitive test performance. Intact cognitive functioning in multiple sclerosis may remain stable, whereas incipient cognitive decline seems to be widespread and progressive in nature. It seems to be a tendency that a greater cognitive impairment is present in primary-chronic-progressive or secondary-chronic-progressive form of the disease than in the relapsing-remitting MS patients.
MS is a lifelong disease. A weak relationship between physical disability and cognitive impairment is observed. Cognitive dysfunction may, according to the results of recent researches, have a devastating impact on patients` ability to maintain employment, independent living skills and social relationships.