Background: For many years, cognitive impairment has been established as a well-known symptom of multiple sclerosis. Moreover, we know that it was present even at the beginning of the disease.
Objective: In this case-control study, we decided to evaluate whether there is an impairment of cognitive functions even before onset in those patients who will eventually suffer from multiple sclerosis.
Methods: We evaluated the overall school performance, and particularly school performance in math and language in a group of patients who would later develop the disease and we compared our findings with a control group.
Results: We found that school performance was poorer in subjects who were to become patients. And we found that the later the start of the first symptom, the better the qualifications.
Conclusion: Testing a premorbid cognitive deficit by a validated indirect evaluation method allowed us to verify that there was evidence of neurological compromise even before a clinical diagnosis or the completion of the first magnetic resonance imaging in patients who would then suffer from multiple sclerosis.
Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; cognitive symptoms; early diagnosis; education; incidental findings; prodromal symptoms.
© The Author(s), 2014.