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  1. Phil Perry Moore,
  2. Abigail Methley,
  3. Catherine Pollard,
  4. Kerry Mutch,
  5. Anu Jacob
  1. The Walton Centre


Background Cognitive impairment has been reported in patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) but little is known about the impacts of cognitive symptoms on well-being in patients with the condition.

Methods NMO patients completed a neuropsychological battery and self-report measures of cognitive symptoms, mood and well-being.

Results 31 patients with a mean age of 47.03 years (SD 15.26), disease duration 9.13 years (SD 8.95) and EDSS 3.74 (SD 2.03) participated. Although patients self-reported substantial cognitive difficulties, only objective cognitive performance and not subjective cognitive complaints were significantly associated with quality of life (QoL) ratings (r=−0.39, p=0.04 vs r=0.25, p=0.20). The Symbol Digit Modalities Test was the only cognitive test individually associated with QoL (r=0.52, p=0.01) but was not significantly associated with levels of mood symptoms. In contrast, degree of cognitive impairment (based on number of domains impaired) was significantly associated with overall QoL (r=−0.39, p=0.04) and HADS depression (r=0.49, p=0.01) and anxiety (r=0.38, p=0.04).

Conclusions Our results suggest that objective cognitive impairments are associated with reduced quality of life and increased mood symptoms but are not readily identified through patient self-report of cognitive symptoms. Patient self-report may not capture the extent of cognitive dysfunction in NMO.


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