Cognitive assessment of Brazilian patients with multiple sclerosis: weighing the impact of disability and depressive symptoms

Patricia Semionato Andrade, Ana Cláudia Rodrigues de Cerqueira, Ana Carolina Colodetti, Felipe da Rocha Schmidt, José Maurício Godoy Barreiros, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira, Leonardo Cruz de Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Cognition is not routinely assessed in patients with MS though they frequently have cognitive complaints or dysfunction. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the cognitive status of patients with MS with age, sex, and schooling matched controls and to evaluate the potential influence of clinical parameters on cognition. Methods: A total of 35 patients with MS (mean±SD age 37.9 years±11.44, M/F: 12/23) and 33 healthy controls (mean±SD age 38.8 years±12.6, M/F: 12/21) were enrolled in this study. All subjects underwent a structured clinical assessment and the cognitive tools are as follows: Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Digit Span, and Verbal Fluency Tests (letters F, A, and S and animal category). Psychopathology was assessed with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) was used for patients. Results: Patients performed worse than controls in almost all tests, with approximately 70% of patients presenting cognitive impairment. The most affected cognitive domain was episodic memory (45.7%), followed by verbal fluency (42.8%) and information processing speed (22.8%). SDMT was inversely correlated with disease severity, as assessed by the EDSS. Depression did not influence cognitive performance in this cohort. Conclusions: Cognitive dysfunction is common among patients with MS. While motor impairment was associated with information processing speed, depression did not influence cognitive performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-283
Number of pages8
JournalDementia e Neuropsychologia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Memory
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropsychological Tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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