J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 74:443-446 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.4.443
  • Paper

Cognitive impairment in probable multiple sclerosis

  1. A Achiron1,
  2. Y Barak2
  1. 1Multiple Sclerosis Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
  2. 2Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Bat Yam, Israel
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A Achiron, Multiple Sclerosis Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, 52621, Israel; 
  • Received 19 June 2002
  • Accepted 13 December 2002
  • Revised 9 October 2002


Objectives: To evaluate and characterise cognitive impairment in the very early stage of multiple sclerosis (MS), in which patients are still diagnosed as suffering from probable MS.

Methods: The Brief Repeatable Battery-Neuropsychological (BRB-N) that has been validated for MS patients was used. Abnormal performance was defined as one standard deviation below the mean reported for healthy age matched subjects. Neurological disability and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were performed for all patients. Correlation coefficients were calculated between disease burden variables and performance on the BRB-N.

Results: Sixty seven patients with probable MS were evaluated within a mean of one month of the onset of new neurological symptoms. Evidence for the presence of cognitive impairment was shown in 53.7% of patients. Verbal abilities and attention span were most frequently affected. Impairment was not correlated with neurological disability or MRI disease burden.

Conclusion: Prevalent cognitive impairment already exists at onset of MS.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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