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Disrupted cognitive development following pediatric acquired demyelinating syndromes

Full Title: Disrupted cognitive development following pediatric acquired demyelinating syndromes: A longitudinal study

De Somma E, O’Mahony J, Brown RA, Brooks BL, Yeh EA, Cardenas De La Parra A, Arnold D, Collins L, Maranzano J, Narayanan S, Marrie RA, Bar-or A, Banwell B, Till C

Child Neuropsychology


Long-term cognitive deficits have been observed in some children who experience an acquired demyelinating syndrome (ADS). We examined changes in cognitive functioning over the first two years following incident ADS andtested whether normalized brain and thalamic volume accounted for decline over time. Twenty-five youth (mean age 12.8 years) with ADS, 9 of whom were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and 16 of whom experienced monophasic ADS (monoADS), underwent two neuropsychological evaluationsand MRI scans at approximately6- and 24-months post ADS-onset. We examined changes in cognitive outcomes over time and between patient groups. Generalized linear mixed-effect regression models were used to examine the association of normalized brain and thalamic volumesbetween the two timepointswith cognitive z-scores. Cognitive performance was within the age-expected range for both groups and remained stable over time on 15 measures. In the combined sample of monoADS and MS patients, declines (p < .05) were noted on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), the Auditory Working Memory (AWM), and the WJ-III Visual Matching (VisMat)tests, but did not survive FDR correction. Clinically significant declines, as measured by the Reliable Change Index, were observed on the SDMT,AWM, and VisMattests by 19, 42, and 32%, respectively. Lower normalized brain volume at 6-months predicted a negative change in SDMT (B = 0.45, 95%CI: 0.07,0.83) and AWM (B = 0.30, 95%CI: 0.13, 0.47). Chronicity of demyelination is not required for cognitive decline nor for reduced brain volume, suggesting that even a single demyelinating event may negatively impact cognitive potential in children.

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