Cognitive dysfunction in pediatric multiple sclerosis
Agnese Suppiej,1 Elisa Cainelli1,2
1Child Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Pediatric University Hospital, Padua, Italy; 2Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (LCNL), Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Italy
Abstract: Cognitive and neuropsychological impairments are well documented in adult multiple sclerosis (MS). Research has only recently focused on cognitive disabilities in pediatric cases, highlighting some differences between pediatric and adult cases. Impairments in several functions have been reported in children, particularly in relation to attention, processing speed, visual–motor skills, and language. Language seems to be particularly vulnerable in pediatric MS, unlike in adults in whom it is usually preserved. Deficits in executive functions, which are considered MS-specific in adults, have been inconsistently reported in children. In children, as compared to adults, the relationship between cognitive dysfunctions and the two other main symptoms of MS, fatigue and psychiatric disorders, was poorly explored. Furthermore, data on the correlations of cognitive impairments with clinical and neuroimaging features are scarce in children, and the results are often incongruent; interestingly, involvement of corpus callosum and reduced thalamic volume differentiated patients identified as having a cognitive impairment from those without a cognitive impairment. Further studies about pediatric MS are needed in order to better understand the impact of the disease on brain development and the resulting effect on cognitive functions, particularly with respect to different therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: central nervous system, child, deficit, IQ, inflammatory demyelination, neuropsychological
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