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Mult Scler. 2010 Jan;16(1):93-9. doi: 10.1177/1352458509350308. Epub 2009 Dec 7.

Attention Network Test reveals alerting network dysfunction in multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Attention is one of the cognitive domains typically affected in multiple sclerosis. The Attention Network Test was developed to measure the function of the three distinct attentional networks, alerting, orienting, and executive control. The Attention Network Test has been performed in various neuropsychiatric conditions, but not in multiple sclerosis. Our objective was to investigate functions of attentional networks in multiple sclerosis by means of the Attention Network Test. Patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (n = 57) and healthy controls (n = 57) matched for age, sex, and education performed the Attention Network Test. Significant differences between patients and controls were detected in the alerting network (p = 0.003), in contrast to the orienting (p = 0.696) and the conflict (p = 0.114) network of visual attention. Mean reaction time in the Attention Network Test was significantly longer in multiple sclerosis patients than in controls (p = 0.032), Multiple sclerosis patients benefited less from alerting cues for conflict resolution compared with healthy controls. The Attention Network Test revealed specific alterations of the attention network in multiple sclerosis patients which were not explained by an overall cognitive slowing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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