Neurocognitive profiles as a function of gender and subtype in multiple sclerosis
Maroof, David Aaron
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This current study examined differences in neuropsychological performance across both gender and subtype (relapsing-remitting and chronic-progressive) in a clinical sample of 91 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Specific tests derived from a larger neuropsychological battery were utilized to explore and clarify neurocognitive functioning based on previous findings. Multivariate analyses of covariance (MANCOVA), using first gender and then disease subtype as the factor, across varying cognitive domains (e.g., processing speed/attention) indicated no significant differences, although disease subtype explained 19% of the variance in executive functioning scores. Subsequently, logistic regression analysis indicated that completed trials on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) was a significant predictor of group membership for disease subtype. Specifically, being diagnosed with a primary progressive course was .33 times as likely with a one-unit increase in this index. Moreover, a measure of total errors on this task approached significance, with primary-progressive patients performing below that of patients with a relapsing-remitting course. These findings are relevant to both the clinical evaluation of MS patients, and developing rehabilitative/compensatory strategies for patients. Moreover, the differences observed point to the possibility in variations with regards to the neural substrates. Further implications are discussed.