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Neurological Sciences

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 1651–1657 | Cite as

Aging with multiple sclerosis: prevalence and profile of cognitive impairment

  • Mariana Branco
  • Luis Ruano
  • Emilio Portaccio
  • Benedetta Goretti
  • Claudia Niccolai
  • Francesco Patti
  • Clara Chisari
  • Paolo Gallo
  • Paola Grossi
  • Angelo Ghezzi
  • Marco Roscio
  • Flavia Mattioli
  • Fabio Bellomi
  • Marta Simone
  • Rosa Gemma Viterbo
  • Maria Pia AmatoEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Background

The increase in life expectancy of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) requires a better knowledge of disease features in the older patients group.

Objective

To describe the prevalence and profile of cognitive impairment (CI) in older patients with MS and perform a comparison with younger patients.

Methods

Patients were consecutively recruited for 6 months. Cognitive performance was assessed through the Brief Repeatable Battery and the Stroop Test. CI was defined as impairment in ≥ 2 cognitive domains.

Results

We identified 111 patients older than 55 years (mean age 59.7 years). The prevalence of CI was 77.4%, which was significantly higher than in younger patients (42.8%; p < 0.01). Information processing speed was the most impaired domain (68.8%), followed by verbal learning (49.5%), executive function (47.7%), and visuospatial learning (26.6%). We found no significant differences in the prevalence of impairment in the distinct cognitive domains between older and younger patients with CI. Depression and fatigue were not associated with increased CI among patients in the older age group (p > 0.70).

Conclusion

There is a remarkably high frequency of CI in older patients with MS. The similar profile of CI between older and younger patients suggests that CI is mostly directly related to MS itself and not to comorbid age-related disorders.

Keywords

Multiple sclerosis Cognitive impairment Aging Epidemiology 

Notes

Funding

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

All the enrolled patients provided informed consent and the study was approved by the ethical committees of all recruiting institutions.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Fondazione Società Italiana di Neurologia 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana Branco
    • 1
    • 2
  • Luis Ruano
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Emilio Portaccio
    • 4
  • Benedetta Goretti
    • 4
    • 5
  • Claudia Niccolai
    • 5
  • Francesco Patti
    • 6
  • Clara Chisari
    • 6
  • Paolo Gallo
    • 7
  • Paola Grossi
    • 7
    • 8
  • Angelo Ghezzi
    • 9
  • Marco Roscio
    • 9
  • Flavia Mattioli
    • 10
  • Fabio Bellomi
    • 10
  • Marta Simone
    • 11
  • Rosa Gemma Viterbo
    • 12
  • Maria Pia Amato
    • 5
    • 13
    Email author
  1. 1.Neurology DepartmentCentro Hospitalar de Entre Douro e VougaSanta Maria da FeiraPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Epidemiologia Clínica Medicina Preditiva e Saúde PúblicaFaculdade de Medicina da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.EPIUnit, Instituto de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  4. 4.SOC Neurologia - Firenze, AUSL Toscana CentroFlorenceItaly
  5. 5.Department NEUROFARBA, Section NeurosciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  6. 6.University of CataniaCataniaItaly
  7. 7.University of PadovaPadovaItaly
  8. 8.Department, ASST CremaNeuroimmunology Center, CardiocerebrovascularCremaItaly
  9. 9.Gallarate HospitalVareseItaly
  10. 10.ASST Spedali Civili Brescia Neuropsychology UnitBresciaItaly
  11. 11.Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Child and Adolescence Neuropsychiatry Unit, Neuroscience and Sense OrgansUniversity “Aldo Moro” BariBariItaly
  12. 12.University of BariBariItaly
  13. 13.IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo GnocchiFlorenceItaly

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