Decision-making under explicit risk is impaired in multiple sclerosis: Relationships with ventricular width and disease disability

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Abstract

Background: Decision-making is an essential function of everyday life. Decision-making under explicit risk requires developing advantageous decision strategies based on fixed outcomes (e.g., probabilities of winning or losing a bet). Decision-making and its neural substrates have been rarely studied in MS. We expected performance in decision-making under risk to be lowered in MS patients, and negatively correlated with disease-related disability, cognition, and ventricular width. Methods: Three groups were included: 32 MS patients and 20 healthy controls were examined with conventional neuropsychological tests and the Game-of-Dice Task (GDT) assessing decision-making under explicit risk. Linear 2-D ventricular width was assessed on MS patients' clinical MRIs and compared to a third group, 20 non-MS neurological control patients. Results: Compared to healthy controls, MS patients showed impaired GDT and neuropsychological performance, depending on the MS-subtype (relapsing-remitting (RR), n=22; secondary progressive, n=10) and disability severity among RR-MS patients. In MS patients, GDT performance correlated with processing speed, intercaudate ratio, and third ventricle ratio (p's<0.05). Mediation analysis showed that the link between GDT performance and processing speed was fully explained by ventricular size. Conclusion: Decision-making under explicit risk was reduced in MS patients, but only those with more pronounced disability. Independent of processing speed, decision-making under explicit risk correlates inversely with central atrophy in MS.

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Radomski, A. D., Power, C., Purdon, S. E., Emery, D. J., Blevins, G., Warren, K. G., & Fujiwara, E. (2015). Decision-making under explicit risk is impaired in multiple sclerosis: Relationships with ventricular width and disease disability. BMC Neurology, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-015-0318-0

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