Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cognitive decline picked up by a quick computer test

Lapshin H, Audet B, Feinstein A. Detecting cognitive dysfunction in a busy multiple sclerosis clinical setting: a computer generated approach. Eur J Neurol. 2013 Nov. doi: 10.1111/ene.12292. [Epub ahead of print]



BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:This study aims to explore the effectiveness of a brief, computerized battery of tests in detecting cognitive differences between clinically isolated syndromes (CIS), relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) patients.
METHODS: Four groups of patients between the ages of 18 and 63 were enrolled from two hospital-based multiple sclerosis clinics: CIS (n = 42), RRMS (n = 44), PPMS (n = 15) and SPMS (n = 37). All subjects were administered a validated battery of five computerized cognitive tests: the STROOP Colour-Word Test, the Computerized Symbol Digit Modalities Test, the Paced Visual Serial Addition Test (PVSAT) 4 s and 2 s trials, and a speed of cognition index obtained by subtracting simple reaction time from choice reaction time. Results were recorded by the test administrator.
RESULTS:Significant between-group differences in cognition were evident on all tests (P < 0.01) with the exception of the PVSAT 2 s trial. CIS patients were the least impaired, SPMS the most. RRMS and PPMS patients generally had a similar cognitive profile, more impaired than the CIS patients but less so than the SPMS patients. These differences persisted after controlling for the effects of age and education.
CONCLUSIONS:The ability of this computerized cognitive battery to distinguish the progression of cognitive deficits across the entire multiple sclerosis disease spectrum from CIS through to SPMS enhances its construct validity. This finding, coupled with the battery's brevity (20 min) and ease of administration, highlights its potential utility in a busy clinic setting.


Neuropsychological testing requires considerable time, expense, and expertise to administer. These factors can limit MSer access. Computerized cognitive testing has been proposed as an alternative.
The Stroop effect is a demonstration of interference in the reaction time of a task. When the name of a colour (e.g., "blue," "green," or "red") is printed in a coluor not denoted by the name (e.g., the word "red" printed in blue ink instead of red ink), naming the colour of the word takes longer and is more prone to errors than when the color of the ink matches the name of the colour


The Computerized Symbol Digit Modalities Test is used to monitor divided attention, visual scanning and movement,
Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) is a neuropsychological test, used to assess capacity and rate of information processing and sustained and divided attention




This study suggests that you can pick up behavioural changes even at the earliest stages of MS (CIS) and these effects become more apparent as disease progresses notably into secondary progression. I wonder if ProfG thinks if this could be useful in his clinical practise

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