Research Article| Volume 56, 103257, November 2021

Five-year follow up of the original Irish BICAMS validation cohort

Published:September 16, 2021DOI:


      • 5-year follow up BICAMS testing was performed on 50 people with multiple sclerosis who participated in the original Irish BICAMS validation study.
      • The cohort demonstrated stability the SDMT and improvement on the CVLT-II and the BVMT-R.
      • NEDA status increased likelihood of stability on the SDMT.



      Cognitive impairment is common in multiple sclerosis at all stages of the condition. The natural history of cognition in multiple sclerosis has been considered to be deterioration of cognitive functioning over time. The development of the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis(BICAMS) has allowed standardization of a screening tool for cognitive impairment which can be easily performed in the neurology clinic. Cross-sectional and validation studies using BICAMS have been widely reported, however minimal longitudinal assessment of cognition using BICAMS has taken place to date.


      The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of cognitive impairment at a five-year interval in participants of an original BICAMS validation study. We will also evaluate change of the BICAMS subtests over time.

      Materials and methods

      Participants of the original BICAMS validation study were invited to participate in the study. Demographic and clinical details were collected. BICAMS subtests, anxiety, depression and fatigue questionnaires were completed.


      Fifty out of the original 67 participants completed BICAMS five years post original assessment. The prevalence of cognitive impairment in this cohort with a mean age of 49 and a median EDSS of 2.5 (EDSS of 2.0 at initial BICAMS testing) remained stable five years following initial BICAMS screening assessment, X2(1)=0.36, p=.548. There was no significant difference in SDMT scores between 2014 and 2019 t(48) = 1.08, p=.15. There was an improvement in CVLT-II, t(49)=-3.03; p=.004 and BVMT-R, t(49)=-3.38; p=.001.


      This study demonstrates overall stability in the prevalence of cognitive impairment as assessed by the BICAMS. The interval of five years between assessment reduces the possibility of practice effects, although familiarity with the testing protocol may exert an influence.


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