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MS May Affect Ability to Read Social Cues

October 3, 2017

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease that can damage key parts of the central nervous system and may cause a host of debilitating symptoms. Many people associate MS with the gradual loss of motor function and sensation, but this does not complete the picture of this complex condition.

recent study asserts that MS can actually alter the way people with the disease perceive and process social situations. And it may even shed some light on why some people with MS may easily misread a situation and react differently than expected.

MS disease activity can trigger changes in the brain’s white matter, which controls many higher brain functions. These changes can lead to deficiencies in both theory of mind (ToM) and facial emotion recognition, which are significant when compared with people who don’t have MS.

ToM is the ability to attribute mental states such as intentions and beliefs to oneself and others, and to understand that these states may be different than one’s own. For example, someone might be talking, explaining a situation with no malicious intent, but a person with MS could misinterpret the facial expressions of the person speaking and perceive them as angry.
This is not the first study to look into ToM and MS. Social cognition and MS have been studied for years, and the research points to significant differences between people with MS and control groups. A recent analysis of the connection between MS and ToM covered 21 studies that provided data on over 1,200 people with MS. The researchers’ analyses showed similar levels of cognitive decline than what were noted in the new study.

READ MORE at Healthline.com