Cognitive impairment in relapsing and primary progressive multiple sclerosis: Mostly a matter of speed

Douglas R. Denney, Sharon G. Lynch, Brett A. Parmenter, Nikki Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Based on the assumption that cognitive impairment in MS is consistent with subcortical dementia, a battery of neuropsychological tests was assembled that included measures of executive function (Tower of London and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test), verbal learning and memory (a paired associates learning test), and speeded information processing (Stroop Color Word Interference Test). The battery was administered to patients with relapsing and primary progressive MS and to healthy controls. Differences between patients and controls occurred on several of the measures. However, when differences with respect to fatigue and depression were statistically controlled, the only differences that remained significant involved measures relating to the speed of information processing. Patients performed more slowly than controls, with the disparity being greater for relapsing patients than for those with primary progressive disease. The slowing was evident on measures of automatic as well as controlled processing and regardless of whether speed was an explicit feature of successful performance or recorded unobstrusively while the patient concentrated on planning a correct solution to a problem. Parallels were noted between cognitive slowing associated with MS and that of normal aging. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-956
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive impairment in relapsing and primary progressive multiple sclerosis: Mostly a matter of speed'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this