Reliable screening for neuropsychological impairment in multiple sclerosis

  • Benedict R
  • Cox D
  • Thompson L
 et al. 
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Abstract

In an earlier study, we developed the Multiple Sclerosis Neuropsychological Screening Questionnaire (MSNQ) to assist in the screening for neuropsychological (NP) impairments. Self-report MSNQ scores correlated significantly with measures of depression, whereas informant-report MSNQ scores correlated with cognitive performance, but not depression. This study was criticized for use of a small sample and lack of data regarding normal performance and test-retest reliability. The present study was designed to replicate the earlier work with a larger sample of patients and normal controls obtained from multiple sites. We also evaluated the test-retest reliability and predictive validity of the MSNQ. The sample included 85 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and 40 normal controls, matched on demographic variables. All participants completed the MSNQ and underwent NP testing. Thirty-four patients were re-examined at one week. Pearson and ANOVA techniques were utilized for univariate comparisons. Bayesian statistics were calculated to assess predictive validity. Patient self- and informant-report MSNQ scores differed from normal and test retest reliability indices were high. Both self- and informant-reports were correlated with cognitive dysfunction and depression scales. Self-report MSNQ scores correlated more strongly with depression than cognitive performance, whereas the opposite pattern was observed with informant-report scores. Bayesian statistics showed that informant-report MSNQ scores predict cognitive impairment and patient self-report scores identify patients with cognitive impairment or depression. It is concluded that the MSNQ is useful, although patient self-reports may be exaggerated in depressed patients or reduced in patients with severe cognitive impairment.

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