Using a touchscreen platform to administer neuropsychological tests is a practical and effective way to measure cognitive impairment in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to results published in Frontiers in Neurology. 

The study included participants with MS at a specialist MS clinic (n=90). The researchers administered the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) to participants using a touchscreen platform. It evaluated working memory, executive function, processing speed, attention, and episodic memory.

CANTAB results indicated cognitive impairment in at least 1 cognitive domain in 44% of participants (n=40). The most frequently impaired domain was executive function, which was impaired in 55% of participants who showed cognitive impairment.

The researchers found that longer disease duration was associated with poorer performance on processing speed and attention. More severe physical disability was associated with worse performance in areas of working memory, executive function, processing speed, and attention. Participants who had depressive symptoms were more likely to have impaired processing speed. 

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“CANTAB tasks provide a sensitive and practical tool for cognitive testing in MS patients as part of a holistic patient assessment,” the researchers wrote.

Reference

Cotter J, Vithanage N, Colville S, et al. Investigating domain-specific cognitive impairment among patients with multiple sclerosis using touchscreen cognitive testing in routine clinical care [published online May 11, 2018]. Front Neurol. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.00331