Frontal cortex atrophy predicts cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2002 Winter;14(1):44-51. doi: 10.1176/jnp.14.1.44.


The association between regional measures of cortical atrophy and neuropsychological (NP) dysfunction was studied in 35 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Patients underwent neurological examination, MRI, and NP testing. Blind quantitative MRI analysis yielded total T(2) lesion area (TLA) and third ventricle width (3VW). Cortical atrophy, rated by blind visual inspection, was more extensive in superior frontal and parietal cortices than in other regions. No MRI measures were correlated with depression scores. TLA and 3VW were significantly correlated with each NP test. Cortical atrophy measures for bilateral superior frontal cortex were retained in regression models predicting impairments in verbal learning, spatial learning, attention, and conceptual reasoning. The authors conclude that cerebral atrophy predicts NP impairment while accounting for the influence of TLA or 3VW. Regions of cortex most susceptible to atrophic and cognitive changes in MS are the right and left superior frontal lobes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrophy
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology*
  • Space Perception / physiology