Cognitive impairment concerns a significant percentage of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). A transient impairment of cognition with a simultaneous presence of non-symptomatic gadolinium (Gd)-enhancing lesions in patients with MS was previously described. Our study aimed to evaluate modifications in cognitive function before and after the occurrence of asymptomatic MRI gadolinium (Gd)-enhancing lesions in relapsing MS patients.
Patients and methods
All patients underwent a neuropsychological evaluation before (30–60 days) and after (30–60 days) brain MRI with Gd administration. Patients were classified as Gd positive (presence of enhancing-lesions) and Gd negative (absence of enhancing-lesions). We also recruited a healthy controls group underwent to the same neuropsychological assessment for two times with the same timing of MS patients.
We included 84 relapsing-remitting patients and 40 healthy controls. Brain MRI results showed that 14/84 (16.7%) patients had asymptomatic Gd-enhancing-lesion. No significant variation in cognitive performance between baseline and follow-up was observed in patients with or without MRI-enhancing lesions. However, an increase between baseline and follow-up was observed in the mean scores of the Symbol Digit Modality Test (41.9 at baseline versus 46.7 at follow-up, p :< 0.001). This increase was significantly lower in Gd positive patients compared to Gd negative patients (mean increase 1.1 in Gd positive versus 4.9 in Gd negative, p: < 0.001) and to healthy controls groups (mean increase 7.2; p < 0.001)
In our study, the absence of a practice effect in Gd positive compared to Gd negative patients and to healthy controls suggests a possible role of focal inflammation on cognitive function of MS patients.
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Published online: May 17, 2018
Accepted: May 13, 2018
Received in revised form: May 11, 2018
Received: March 2, 2018
© 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.