Relation between MR abnormalities and patterns of cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis

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Objective: This study correlated the extent of abnormalities detected by different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques [proton density (PD)- weighted, T1-weighted, and magnetization transfer imaging (MTI)] with the overall cognitive, frontal lobe, and memory impairments in patients with MS. Patients: There were 30 clinically definite MS patients, with different disease courses. Exclusion criteria: psychoactive/steroid treatments, mood disorders, acute relapse phase. Main Outcome Measures: Neuropsychological test results. Total (TLL) and frontal (FLL) lesion loads assessed from PD- weighted, T1-weighted (22 patients), and MTI (22 patients) MRI scans. Average lesion MT ratios (MTR) and analysis of the MTR histograms from brain tissue axial slabs on MTI scans. Results: Patients with frontal lobe deficits (n = 15) or memory impairment (n = 17) had a higher TLL on PD scans (p = 0.04 and p = 0.01, respectively). Patients with frontal lobe deficits had higher FLL on PD scans (p = 0.01) and TLL on MTI (p = 0.03) scans. No significant relationships between the extent of Tl-weighted lesion loads and the presence of any neuropsychological impairment. Mean MTR of both MS lesions and whole brain tissue was lower in patients with frontal lobe impairment (p = 0.04). MRI lesion loads correlated significantly with some neuropsychological test scores. Conclusions: Lesion loads on PD-weighted MRI and MTI-derived measures are associated with cognitive decline in MS patients. Overall macroscopic and microscopic brain damage is more important than the corresponding regional brain disease in determining deficits of selective cognitive domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1608
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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