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Mult Scler. 2016 Apr;22(5):599-607. doi: 10.1177/1352458515595132. Epub 2015 Jul 22.

Contribution of the cerebellum to cognitive performance in children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis.

Author information

1
McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Canada.
2
Department of Psychology, York University, Canada.
3
Neurosciences and Mental Health Program, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada and Department of Pediatrics (Neurology), University of Toronto, Canada.
4
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, USA.
5
McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Canada louis.collins@mcgill.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Posterior fossa lesions are common in pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (MS), which is of concern, given the known role of the cerebellum in cognition.

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the relationship between cerebellar pathology and cognitive function in youth with pediatric-onset MS.

METHODS:

Twenty-eight pediatric-onset relapsing-remitting MS patients (21 girls; mean age 16.2 years; mean disease duration 4.3 years, median Expanded Disability Status Scale 1.25) were compared to 33 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Participants underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological evaluation to assess intelligence, attention, processing speed, language, visuo-motor integration, and fine-motor dexterity. Associations between cognitive outcomes and cerebellar volume independent of cerebral volume were examined.

RESULTS:

Cognitive and motor performance of the MS group was reduced relative to controls (all p<0.003). While cerebellar volumes did not differ between groups, cerebellar posterior lobe volume and infratentorial lesion volume accounted for extra variance on measures of information processing (R(2)=0.43; p=0.02) and vocabulary (R(2)=0.56; p=0.04) in patients (controlling for cerebral volume and sex), but not in controls.

CONCLUSION:

Smaller cerebellar posterior lobe volume, a known region for cognitive processing, and increased lesion burden in the posterior fossa adversely impact cognitive function, an important functional consequence of MS onset during childhood.

KEYWORDS:

Cerebellum; cognition; multiple sclerosis; pediatric; volumetric MRI

PMID:
26203072
DOI:
10.1177/1352458515595132
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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