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Arch Neurol. 2009 Sep;66(9):1139-43. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2009.190.

Multiple sclerosis with predominant, severe cognitive impairment.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the characteristics of multiple sclerosis (MS) presenting with severe cognitive impairment as its primary disabling manifestation.

DESIGN:

Retrospective case series.

SETTING:

Tertiary referral center. Patients Patients were identified through the Mayo Clinic data retrieval system (1996-2008) with definite MS (McDonald criteria) and severe cognitive impairment as their primary neurological symptom without accompanying significant MS-related impairment or alternative diagnosis for cognitive dysfunction. Twenty-three patients meeting inclusion criteria were compared regarding demographics, clinical course, and radiological features.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Demographic, clinical, and radiological characteristics of the disease.

RESULTS:

Twelve patients were men. The median age of the first clinical symptom suggestive of central nervous system demyelination was 33 years, and severe MS-related cognitive impairment developed at a median age of 39 years. Cognitive impairment could be dichotomized as subacute fulminant (n = 9) or chronic progressive (n = 14) in presentation, which corresponded to subsequent relapsing or progressive MS courses. Study patients commonly exhibited psychiatric (65%), mild cerebellar (57%), and cortical symptoms and signs (eg, seizure, aphasia, apraxia) (39%). Fourteen of 21 (67%), where documented, smoked cigarettes. Brain magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated diffuse cerebral atrophy in 16 and gadolinium-enhancing lesions in 11. Asymptomatic spinal cord magnetic resonance imaging lesions were present in 12 of 16 patients (75%). Immunomodulatory therapies were generally ineffective in improving these patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

We describe patients with MS whose clinical phenotype is characterized by severe cognitive dysfunction and prominent cortical and psychiatric signs presenting as a subacute fulminant or chronic progressive clinical course. Cigarette smokers may be overrepresented in this phenotype.

PMID:
19752304
PMCID:
PMC2763409
DOI:
10.1001/archneurol.2009.190
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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