Universidad Complutense
Facultad de Psicología

Author Of 1 Presentation

Neuropsychology and Cognition Poster Presentation

P0796 - Cognitive differences in aging patients with multiple sclerosis compared to healthy controls (ID 1851)



It´s stated that as we get older, cognitive processes change. Healthy control (HC) and people with multiple sclerosis (MS) share a decrement in speed of processing with age. Nevertheless, demyelinating and neurodegenerative characteristics of MS may implicate neuropsychological differences when analyzing aging.


To study the differences in cognitive processes between MS patients and HC when considering two age groups: yound adults and older ones.


We had two groups: MS from 45 to 55 years old (MS1) and from 56 to 70 (MS2) and a HC group (HC1 and HC2) paired in age and years of education (YoE). We applied a neuropsychological comprehensive battery including Symbol Digit Modality Test (SDMT), PASAT 3”, Spanish California Verbal Learning Test (TAVEC), Spatial Recall Test (SPART), Brief Visual Memory Test (BVMT-R), Five Digit Test (5DT), WAIS-Digits and Corsi and verbal fluency (letter, category and exclusion). Mild (MCI) and moderated (ModCI) cognitive impairment was based on Z scores for the following cognitive domains: speed of processing (SP), attention, working memory, verbal and visual memory and executive functions.


We assessed 137 MS patients, 62,7% women with a mean age of 52.7, secondary education (M=14.3) with a mean Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) of 3.3 (Mode=6), relapsing-remitting MS (82,5%) after a mean of 14,3 years having MS. We also evaluated 34 matching HC. MS patients were MCI (43.1%) followed by no impairment (33.6%) and they were equivalent in age, YoE or EDSS. When comparing groups, HC1 scored higher than HC2 in SDMT (p<0.001), SPART-recall (p=0.21) and they retrieved more words in TAVEC when cued were offered short-term (p=0.024), long-term (p=0.034) and free long-term recall (p=0.043). When MS group was analyzed, MS1 performed better than MS2 in SDMT (P=0.004), total learning in TAVEC (p=0.026 list A and p=0.004 list B), hits and dyads in PASAT (p=0.004 and P=0.01), digits-forward (p=0.035) and exclusion fluency (p=0.014). When comparing the same age group, MS1 scored lower in SMDT, SPART learning and recall compared to HC1. In older group, MS2 showed less hits and dyads in PASAT with higher interference errors and less fluency in exclusion trial compared to HC2.


Cognitive ageing for MS patients is different: as HC, they get slower when processing information but they also perform worse in verbal and visual learning tasks together with executive functioning, whereas for HC the cognitive deficit is more memory-specific related. When younger, MS were equal to HC but slower. When older, MS displayed dysexecutive aspects instead of mainly amnesic ones. The added cognitive features of the older MS group support the idea of an added subcortical damage, responsible of a frontal-like neuropsychological profile.