Objective: Despite the evidence of cognitive deficits in MS’ers, evaluation of their cognitive integrity is often limited to the use of clinical interviews and questionnaires. However, the consensus in the literature is that MS’ers under- or overestimate their deficits and repercussions. The objective of this study was to clarify why some patients overestimate while others underestimate their memory deficits.
Demers et al. Impact of the Cognitive Status on the Memory Complaints in MS Patients. Can J Neurol Sci. 2011 Sep;38(5):728-33.
Method: Fifty-four participants (30 MS, 24 controls) completed a prospective and retrospective memory questionnaire and were tested on a battery of neuropsychological tests. Based on the test results, MS’ers were categorised as having either mild or moderate/severe cognitive deficits.
Results: The moderate/severe MS group differed from the two other groups on an auditory verbal learning test but did not differ from the control group on the prospective and retrospective memory questionnaire.
Conversely, the mild MS group did not differ from the control group on the auditory verbal learning test but did report significantly more problems than this group on the prospective and retrospective memory questionnaire.
Conclusion: The results explain the contradiction in the literature. It is the mild group who overestimates, maybe because they are overly concerned by their deficits, whereas the cognitive impairments of the moderate/severe group lead them to underestimate and may make their self-assessment unreliable.
“An interesting observation that may affect how we perceive and investigate cognitive problems in MS.”
“What do you think?”