Research: interferon helps with cognitive problems

#MSBlog: Reversible cognitive impairment in MSers is associated with inflammation!

Mori et al. Early treatment with high-dose interferon beta-1areverses cognitive and cortical plasticity deficits inmultiple sclerosis. Funct Neurol. 2012 27:163-8.

Background: Acute inflammation is associated with cognitive deficits and alterations of cortical plasticity in MS. 

Objective: To test whether early treatment with high-dose interferon (IFN) beta-1a, known to reduce inflammatory activity, improves cortical function and cognitive deficits in MS.

Methods: Eighty treatment-naïve relapsing-remitting MSers received IFN beta-1a (44 mcg) subcutaneously three times per week. Cognitive performance and cortical plasticity were measured through the paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT) and intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) before and up to two years after IFN beta-1a initiation. 

Results: Before treatment, MSers with gadolinium-enhancing lesions (Gd+ve) on MRI performed worse on the PASAT, and showed lower iTBS-induced plasticity, compared with Gd-ve MSers. Six months after treatment initiation both PASAT and iTBS-induced plasticity improved in Gd+ve and remained stable in Gd-ve MSers. 

Conclusion: These results suggest that cognitive and synaptic plasticity deficits may be rescued during high-dose IFN beta-1a treatment in newly-diagnosed RRMSers with Gd+ve lesions.

“As always this study’s findings will need to be reproduced. Despite this the findings in this study are very, very interesting.”

“These findings would support the concept of a cognitive relapse, i.e. an attack when the predominant symptoms is a drop off in cognition (memory, calculation, visuospatial function  etc.). I have seen several MSers presenting with cognitive relapses. The latter are presumably due to lesions occurring in a specific location. Another factor that may seem more likely is that inflammation produces soluble mediators, or cytokines, that affect the function of neurones more globally to reduce cognition and that when the inflammation is resolved the global  neuronal dysfunction recovers and the cognition returns to normal.”

“It may be worth exploring these phenomenon in more detail.”

Other posts of interest on this blog in relation to cognition:

02 Jan 2013
Cerebellar dysfunction correlates with cognitive impairment in MS. #MSBlog: Do you have cerebellar dysfunction? You may be interested to find out! Epub: Cerasa et al. MR imaging and cognitive correlates of 
13 Dec 2012
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cognitive impairment (CI) is an important component of MS disability. A complex biological interplay between white matter (WM) and gray matter (GM) disease likely sustains CI. This study 
28 Nov 2012
Research: cognitive impairment in young MSers. Epub: Julianet al. Cognitive Impairment Occurs in Children and Adolescents With Multiple Sclerosis: Results From a United States Network. J Child Neurol. 2012 Nov.
02 Dec 2012
The sorry state of treatment of cognitive impairment. #MSBlog: We need effective treatments for cognitive impairment! Epub: Amato et al. Treatment of cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis: position paper. J Neurol.
07 Nov 2012
Research: cognitive impairment and unemployment. Epub: Ruet et al. Cognitive impairment, health-related quality of life and vocational status at early stages of multiple sclerosis: a 7-year longitudinal study. J Neurol. 2012 Oct 
15 Nov 2012
Research: lesion location and cognitive impairment. Epub: Rossi et al . Relevance of Brain Lesion Location to Cognition in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e44826. OBJECTIVE: To assess the relationship 
24 Aug 2012
Cognitive impairment in MSers: Jeffrey Gingold. In response to a comment: When attorney Jeffrey N. Gingold misplaced his wife on the living room couch, and became lost while driving just blocks from his home, little did he 
17 Aug 2012
Research:Cognitive Impairment. Hardmeier M, Schoonheim MM, Geurts JJ, Hillebrand A, Polman CH, Barkhof F, Stam CJ.Cognitive dysfunction in early multiple sclerosis: .PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e42087. BACKGROUND: 
20 Jun 2012
Robust Perfusion Deficits in Cognitively Impaired Patients with Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2012 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print] BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Cognitive impairment is a 
16 Feb 2013
“Cognitive impairment in MS does not necessarily affect all domains; in this study verbal fluency is relatively well preserved. I am sure some of you are aware of this; the biggest problem MSers have is with multi-tasking and 
25 Feb 2012
While motor (power and coordination) and cognitive impairments (memory, calculations, time-keeping, problem solving) are common in MS’ers, research concerning their relationship is limited. These investigators aimed to 
06 Feb 2012
Association of MRI metrics and cognitive impairment in radiologically isolated syndromes. Neurology. 2012 Jan. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate cognitive changes in a cohort of radiologically isolated syndromes (RIS) suggestive of 
26 Jun 2011
Cognitive impairment in MS. In response to the comment on memory impairment in MS. “Cognitive impairment is common in MS. Most cross-sectional surveys show that approximately 50% of MS’ers have cognitive problems.
15 Aug 2011
Do you think cognitive impairment is a more important outcome in MS trials compared to physical disability (mobility, bladder, etc.)? At present most clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies focus on the impact of therapy 
12 Aug 2011
Cognitive impairment starts early in MS. Objective: This study assessed whether abnormalities on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are related to cognitive function in people at presentation with clinically isolated 
09 Sep 2011
Research: adaptation to cognitive impairment. Epub ahead of print: Hulst et al. Functional adaptive changes within the hippocampal memory system of patients with multiple sclerosis. Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Sep 6. doi: 
10 Nov 2011
Using a data driven approach based on the strength of a salient pattern of cognitive pathology, we identified distinct brain networks that exhibit increases in functional connectivity despite the presence of strong and diffuse 
15 Feb 2013
Grey Matter (2) – Cortical lesions and atrophy associated with cognitive impairment in RRMS. Calabrese et al. Arch Neurol. 2009 Sep;66(9):1144-50. In this study the investigators were able to relate cortical or grey matter .
19 Dec 2012
BACKGROUND: Memory disturbances, in particular episodic verbal memory dysfunction, are the most frequent cognitive impairment observed inmultiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The use of self-reported outcomes for 
26 Nov 2012
Specifically, MS patients with cognitive impairment had low hippocampal NAAG levels, whereas those with normal cognition demonstrated higher levels. We then …. Research: lesion location and cognitive impairment.
02 Oct 2012
Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate improves processing speed and memory in cognitively impaired MS patients: a phase II study. J Neurol. 2012 Sep 23. Background: MS causes cognitive impairment including slowed processing 
04 Nov 2012
Yes, there is some data suggesting that DMTs delay the onset and progression of cognitive impairment. To have their maximum effect you need to treat early and aggressively. At the moment we can’t repair what is lost.” 
02 Nov 2012
“We need to address the problem of why MSers develop cognitive impairment in the first place; the pathological and MRI data suggest focal gray matter pathology and lesions in the pathways that connect cognitive areas is the 
08 Nov 2012
Background: Cognitive dysfunction is well known in MSers and has been described for many years. Cognitive impairment, memory, and attention deficits seem to be features of advanced MS stages, whereas depression and 
09 Jun 2012
With the advent of disease-modifying medications for MS and emphasis on early intervention and treatment, detection of cognitive impairment at its earliest stage becomes particularly important. In this review the authors 
29 Jul 2012
I suspect we do this as we don’t have effective treatments for MS-related cognitive impairment. Should this be a reason for not telling MSers about this problem?” “I personally believe there is a time when all MSers need to 
10 Nov 2011
Multiple white matter tract abnormalities underlie cognitive impairment in RRMS. Neuroimage. 2011 Oct 29. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a sensitive MRI technique for detecting structural tissue damage in the brain and 
31 Jul 2011
Study objectives: This study investigated whether MRI changes in the normal appearing brain tissue explained part of the cognitive impairment seen in MS’ers. Results: In this study a significant correlation was found between 
01 Feb 2013
This brain atrophy is partly due to loss of axons and neurones and is unequivocally linked to disability progression and cognitive impairment. This is why there is increasing emphasis on drugs that can prevent or at least slow 
30 Sep 2012
These results underline the relevance of specific subcortical structures to cognition, as well as the relevance of (sex-specific) atrophy in MS. The Grey Matter is dark blue. Cognitive impairment is a known consequence of 
17 Jul 2012
Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS or BICAMS. In response to the lack of awareness in relation to MS-related cognitive impairment (see the results on the right of the current poll) we are participating in a new 
20 Oct 2012
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The development of treatment strategies for cognitive impairment in MS is still in its infancy. The objective of this prospective, non-randomized, pilot study was to assess the possible efficacy of 

3 thoughts on “Research: interferon helps with cognitive problems”

  1. (Have tried twice to post this, unsuccessfully). Two years before dx I had a couple of quite uncharacteristic lapses of memory at work. The first time I forgot that I had put away some important information for safety. The ramifications of this were serious. Then, I omitted to upload an individual's details – again, a bad mistake. At the time I beat myself up about it but I'm wondering if it could have been a cognitive issue, an early sign of MS?

    1. Possibly; but it would be difficult to pin down without an MRI done at the time of the memory lapses.

  2. Glad that you managed to do it, I have looked in spam and could not find your posts so they must have gone to the internet ether. It is difficult to say if your lapses were MS maybe, perhaps Prof G may have insight. It is feasible, as there are changes in memory centres and these can occur early in MS. I forget things also and sometimes this can be an issue.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: