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Cognitive Impairment Worse Among PPMS Than RRMS Patients

September 14, 2017

Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) have more severe cognitive impairment than those with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), according to a German study that analyzed published data on the topic.

PPMS patients did especially poorly on verbal learning and verbal memory tests, said the study, which suggested that PPMS patients need disease management that specifically focuses on their cognitive difficulties, which do not necessarily correlate with the degree of overall disability.

The study, “Distinct cognitive impairments in different disease courses of multiple sclerosis – A systematic review and meta-analysis,” appeared in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, In it, researchers from the University Hospital Münster and the University of Münster in Germany gathered data from 47 previously published studies in an attempt to analyze potential differences in cognitive performance between patients with RRMS and PPMS.

These studies included 4,460 patients — 3,456 with RRMS and 1,004 with PPMS — and plenty of information about patient and disease features. This allowed researchers to perform a meta-analysis of pooled data from various studies that is considered the highest level of scientific evidence.

Researchers noted that PPMS patients performed worse on cognitive tests, both when considering global scores and tests of specific cognitive domains. Yet both groups scored similarly in levels of anxiety, depression and fatigue.