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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Slowed processing speed linked with executive deficits in multiple sclerosis
September 16, 2014
A new study supports the role of slowed processing speed in the executive deficits found in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Following this study, experts say that MS cognitive research should focus on two key domains -- processing speed and memory.
Cognitive deficits, which affect half the population with MS, are disabling symptoms that adversely affect quality of life. To evaluate the role of processing speed in deficits of executive function, scientists compared the performance of tasks with and without the element of processing speed in 50 patients with MS with 28 controls. Disease progression was estimated by the degree of cerebral atrophy on neuroimaging.
"Our results point to slowed processing speed as the mechanism underlying deficits in executive function," said Dr. Chiaravalloti. "Understanding this association is an important step toward the development of effective cognitive rehabilitation strategies for individuals with MS. We should focus our efforts on two key domains -- processing speed and memory."
"Additional neuropsychological measures should be included in future studies," she added. "We also need to focus on the contribution of specific brain pathology, such as frontal atrophy and lesion load, to executive deficits."
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