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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2002 Apr;41(4):411-5.

Neuropsychological function in systemic lupus erythematosus: a five-year longitudinal study.

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Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Tromsø, Oslo, Norway.



To evaluate potential changes in cognitive functions over a 5-yr period in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


Twenty-eight patients with SLE were examined at baseline and after a mean follow-up of 60.7+/-5.0 months using standardized neuropsychological tests. Group changes in performance over time were measured and the effects of baseline values for subsequent changes in individual variables after 5 yr were evaluated.


When all SLE patients were considered as a group, seven out of nine (78%) neuropsychological variables remained unchanged and two (22%) improved significantly during the observation period, possibly due to methodological bias. Analysis of the importance of the level of initial cognitive performance for subsequent changes during the observation period, demonstrated that cognitive changes were not significantly influenced by baseline levels, except for a trend in three of nine variables. Neither demographic nor disease-associated quantitative factors were associated with cognitive changes over time.


Cognitive dysfunction seems to be a relatively stable feature of central nervous system involvement in SLE. A decrease in performance over time was not demonstrated consistently in the majority of domains.

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