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J Rheumatol. 2008 Sep;35(9):1776-81. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

Cognitive function in a systemic lupus erythematosus inception cohort.

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Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Measurable cognitive impairment occurs in 30-75% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We compared cognitive functioning in recently-diagnosed SLE patients and normal controls.


The Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM), a repeatable computerized cognitive battery assessing cognitive processing speed and efficiency, was administered to 111 recently diagnosed SLE patients and 79 normal controls. Throughput scores on ANAM subtests were compared using linear regression.


After adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, and education, SLE patients scored significantly lower than controls on throughput measures of 4 ANAM subtests: code substitution immediate recall (p = 0.02), continuous performance (p = 0.02), matching to sample (p = 0.02), and Sternberg subtest (p = 0.0002).


Recently diagnosed SLE patients performed significantly worse than normal controls on 4 of 9 ANAM subtests. ANAM subtests of cognitive efficiency requiring sustained attention/vigilance, visuospatial span of attention/working memory, and simple reaction time showed the greatest impairment. These cognitive deficits were particularly striking, because the SLE patients in this sample were not selected for the presence of neuropsychiatric manifestations, had mild SLE-related disease/damage, and were recently diagnosed with SLE. This suggests that deficits in cognitive efficiency and sustained attention are present early in the course of SLE and in the absence of other significant neuropsychiatric manifestations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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