Cognitive Impairment Common in Young MS Patients

May 13, 2008

Children and juveniles with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have an increased risk of cognitive impairment and low IQ scores, and low IQ scores may be especially associated with a younger age at onset, according to the results of a study published in the May 13 issue of Neurology.

TUESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Children and juveniles with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have an increased risk of cognitive impairment and low IQ scores, and low IQ scores may be especially associated with a younger age at onset, according to the results of a study published in the May 13 issue of Neurology.

Maria Pia Amato, M.D., of the University of Florence in Italy, and colleagues conducted a neuropsychological battery assessing IQ, memory, attention/concentration, executive functions and language in 63 MS patients and 57 healthy controls.

The researchers' regression analysis showed that the only significant predictor of cognitive impairment was an IQ score lower than 90 (odds ratio, 18.2). After considering IQ score as a dependent variable, they found that younger age at MS onset was the only significant predictor (OR, 0.7). Among cases, the investigators also found that depressive symptoms, fatigue and negative effects on school and everyday activities were commonly reported (6 percent, 73 percent and 56 percent, respectively).

"On the whole, our findings emphasize the importance of systematic assessment of cognitive and psychosocial problems in childhood and juvenile MS patients," the authors conclude. "They also provide a few clues for planning future research in the field and developing comprehensive intervention strategies."

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