Identifying risk factors for cognitive issues in multiple sclerosis

Maria Pia Amato, Elio Prestipino, Angelo Bellinvia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Cognitive impairment (CI) in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has progressively regained clinical and research interest and is currently recognized as a debilitating and burdensome problem for these patients. Studying risk and protecting factors that may influence the development and course of CI is currently an area of increasing interest, due to the potential for preventive strategies. Areas covered: In this narrative review the authors briefly addressed the physiopathologic basis, assessment and management of CI in MS and then focused on identifying modifiable and not modifiable risk factors for CI in MS, providing an overview of the current knowledge in the field and indicating avenues for future research. Expert opinion: Improving our understanding of potentially modifiable environmental and lifestyle risk factors or protective factors for CI is important in order to prompt preventive strategies and orient patient counselling and clinical management. To this aim, we need to enhance the current level of evidence linking lifestyle factors to cognition and evaluate some factors that were only preliminary addressed in research. Moreover, we need to explore the role of each factor into the subject cognitive outcome, next to the possible interactions between different environmental factors as well as between environmental and genetic factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2019


  • cognitive assessment
  • cognitive impairment
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • protective factors
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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