Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Abstract of the Day: Verbal Fluency Testing and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Henry JD, Beatty WW. Verbal fluency deficits in multiple sclerosis. Neuropsychologia. 2005 Nov 14; [Epub ahead of print]

School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

A quantitative review of 35 studies with 3673 participants was conducted to estimate and compare the magnitude of deficits upon tests of phonemic and semantic fluency for participants with multiple sclerosis (MS) relative to healthy controls. Participants with MS were substantially but similarly impaired on tests of phonemic and semantic fluency. These deficits were larger than deficits on measures of verbal intelligence, confrontation naming and another widely used measure of executive functioning, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, but were of a comparable or smaller magnitude relative to deficits on the oral version of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT). This is consistent with other research suggesting that measures of verbal fluency and the SDMT may be amongst the most sensitive neuropsychological measures to cognitive impairment in MS. Increased neurological disability and a chronic progressive (as opposed to a relapsing remitting) disease course were associated with larger deficits on tests of phonemic and semantic fluency. However, it is suggested that this latter finding is attributable to the distinct clinical features of chronic progressive and relapsing remitting sub-types. Thus, patients who follow a chronic progressive course tend to be older, have an increased duration of illness and experience greater neurological disability. Once these variables were controlled for, differences between the two sub-types were substantially attenuated.

PMID: 16293271 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Anthony H. Risser | |

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