Objective: Cognitive dysfunction and neuropsychiatric disturbance are common in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study addressed the ability of the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM), a computerized cognitive testing battery consisting of cognitive subtests, a sleepiness rating scale, and a mood scale, to predict neuropsychological status in patients with SLE.
Methods: Sixty individuals with SLE and no overt neuropsychiatric symptoms were administered ANAM to determine its validity as a screening measure of cognitive dysfunction and emotional distress in SLE.
Results: Performance on ANAM was compared with results of a consecutively administered, 2-hour battery of traditional neuropsychological tests and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II). Individual ANAM cognitive test scores were significantly correlated with most neuropsychological tests, particularly those measuring psychomotor processing speed and executive functioning. Using logistic regression, ANAM cognitive subtests successfully predicted individuals with SLE who had probable versus no impairment after controlling for premorbid levels of cognitive ability. Sensitivity of group classification was 76.2% and specificity was 82.8%, with 80% correct classification overall. ANAM's ability to predict neuropsychological functioning remained even after controlling for subjective reports of depressed mood and current sleepiness. Further, the ANAM mood scale was significantly correlated with the BDI-II (r = 0.67, P < 0.001), indicating its potential future use as a screening tool for emotional distress.
Conclusion: ANAM shows promise as a time- and cost-efficient tool for screening and monitoring cognitive and emotional functioning in SLE, and can indicate when a more thorough neuropsychological investigation is warranted.