The primary objective of this study was to assess cognitive functioning in participants with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) using the MicroCog and to compare their performance to that of a demographically matched, healthy control group. It was hypothesized that as a group, participants with RRMS would have worse cognitive function than healthy controls on all Level 1, 2, and 3 Index scores of the MicroCog. Twenty-six participants with RRMS and twenty-nine sex and education matched healthy controls were administered the MicroCog (Standard Form) along with measures of depression and clinical status, and paper-pencil tests of processing speed (Symbol Digit Modalities Test; SDMT and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test; PASAT). A series of ANCOVAs with depression as a covariate was performed to determine between group differences for each MicroCog Level 3 Index score (General Cognitive Proficiency (GCP) and General Cognitive Functioning (GCF)), Level 2 Index score (Information Processing Accuracy (IPA) and Information Processing Speed (IPS)), and Level 1 Index score (Attention/Mental Control, Memory, Reasoning/Calculation, Spatial Processing, and Reaction Time). Pearson's and point biserial r correlations were calculated in order to assess the degree to which Level 2 and 3 Index scores correlated with clinical and demographic factors (sex, disease duration, depression, and clinical status) and to correlate the MicroCog IPS index score with traditional measures of processing speed. Eight RRMS and two control participants met criteria for cognitive impairment on the MicroCog. ANCOVA results indicated there were significant differences between RRMS and control performance for two MicroCog scores (GCF and IPS). There were not significant differences for GCP, IPS, and all Level 1 scores. A post-hoc analysis performed for the same hypothesis with a group of age equivalent participants suggested a significant RRMS by depression interaction for Level 3 scores. RRMS was not predictive of Level 2 scores after controlling for depression in the age equivalent sample. Correlations for clinical and demographic factors with cognitive outcomes indicated significant relationships for clinical status and depression. There was not a significant relationship detected for disease duration or sex. MicroCog and processing speed measures were significantly related. Post-hoc analyses supported that the criterion validity of the MicroCog is comparable to other cognitive screening tools in RRMS. The results and limitations of our study are discussed, in addition to recommendations for future research.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
McLaughlin, Stephanie Patrice, "Cognitive Functioning in Multiple Sclerosis: An Investigation of the Utility of a Computerized Cognitive Testing System" (2016). All Theses and Dissertations. 6013.
multiple sclerosis, cognitive impairment, computerized cognitive assessment