Cognitive impairment in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common occurrence and is generally fairly circumscribed. The prevalence of the cognitive deficits usually encountered could vary with the clinical course of the disease. To investigate whether the presence of cognitive impairment may occur in the very early stage of MS, we assessed the cognitive status of a group of 40 patients presenting with a recently diagnosed clinically isolated syndrome suggestive of MS (CISSMS), in comparison with 30 age-, sex-, and educational level-matched healthy control subjects. An extensive battery of neuropsychological tests was used to explore verbal and non-verbal memory, attention, concentration, speed of information processing, language and abstract reasoning. Patients with CISSMS had a significant, frequent (57%), and circumscribed cognitive impairment, focused on memory, speed of information processing, attention and executive functions.
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