One-year regional brain volume changes as potential predictors of cognitive function in multiple sclerosis: a pilot study


BackgroundThe most reliable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) marker of cognitive dysfunction in multiple sclerosis (MS) is brain atrophy. However, 1-year volumetric changes prior to cognitive assessment were never studied as potential predictors of cognition, which we aim to assess with this pilot work.MethodsTwenty-two MS patients were submitted to a baseline measure of 83 regional brain volumes with MRI and re-evaluated 1 year later; they were also tested with the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS (BICAMS): sustained attention and processing speed were examined with the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), verbal and visuo-spatial learning and memory with the learning trials from the California Verbal Learning Test-II (CVLT) and the Brief Visuo-spatial Memory Test-revised (BVMT), respectively. Controlling for age, sex, and years of education, a multivariate linear regression model was created for each cognitive score at 1-year follow-up in a backward elimination manner, considering cross-sectional regional volumes and 1-year volume changes as potential predictors.ResultsDecreases in the volumes of the left amygdala and the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex in the year prior to assessment were identified as possible predictors of worse performance in verbal memory (P = 0.009) and visuo-spatial memory (P = 0.001), respectively, independently of cross-sectional brain regional volumes at time of testing.ConclusionOur work reveals novel 1-year regional brain volume changes as potential predictors of cognitive deficits in MS. This suggests a possible role of these regions in such deficits and might contribute to uncover cognitively deteriorating patients, whose detection is still unsatisfying in clinical practice.Open access funding provided by FCT|FCCN (b-on). Biogen, Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia, UIDB/50026/2020, Fundacao para a ciencia e tecnologia, UIDP/50026/2020, Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia, EXPL/MEC-NEU/0888/2021, Torcato Meira

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