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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2010;22(1):22-34. doi: 10.3109/09540261003589372.

Assessment and rehabilitation of cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, Neuropsychology Section, University of Patras Medical School, Patras, Greece.


Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a substantial risk of cognitive dysfunction, even in the earliest stages of the disease, where there is minimum physical disability. Despite the high prevalence rates and the significant impact of cognitive dysfunction on quality of life in this population, cognitive functions are not routinely assessed due to the high cost and time consumption. This article provides an overview of the current state of knowledge related to cognition in MS and on the optimal approach to neuropsychological assessment of this population. It then focuses on the pharmacological and other treatment options available for MS patients with, or at risk for developing, cognitive impairment. The available immune-modulating agents may reduce the development of new lesions and therefore prevent or minimize the progression of cognitive decline. However, there is currently insufficient evidence concerning the efficiency of symptomatic treatment in MS. There is also currently no optimal non-pharmacological treatment strategy for cognitive decline in MS, as the studies published to date report heterogeneous results. Nevertheless, non-pharmacological treatments such as cognitive rehabilitation may benefit some MS patients. As cognition is increasingly recognized as a major feature of MS, its assessment and rehabilitation will become a greater priority.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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