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Pattern of neuropsychologic dysfunction in inactive systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Psychology, Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The pattern of neuropsychological dysfunction in patients with inactive systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) was examined. Fifty-eight subjects with inactive SLE and 47 healthy controls were administered a standardized neuropsychological test battery. Summary scores reflecting 18 different cognitive processes were derived. Subjects were designated cognitively impaired if three or more summary scores differed significantly from premorbid estimates of cognitive functioning. Cognitive impairment was identified in 43% of subjects with inactive SLE and 19% of healthy controls. Subjects with inactive SLE, as a group, performed significantly worse than healthy controls on measures of auditory verbal memory, visual spatial memory, psychomotor speed, and motor functioning. A significantly greater proportion of subjects with inactive SLE than healthy controls was impaired only on a measure of visual spatial memory. Cognitive impairment in subjects with inactive SLE was associated with increasing age. There were no associations between cognitive impairment and current depressive symptoms or current corticosteroid use. These findings suggest that cognitive dysfunction occurs frequently in inactive SLE. The variability of performance of subjects with inactive SLE is consistent with the heterogeneity of CNS involvement in the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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