Background: Cognitive impairment is experienced by about 50% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) worldwide and affects their employment, disease management and quality of life in general. The Brief International Cognitive assessment for MS (BICAMS) is a brief, practical and potentially universal battery for cognitive impairment in MS patients. It consists of three tests: the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), the California Verbal Learning Test-2 (CVLT-2) and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R).
Objective: The objective of this study was to validate the BICAMS in Greek MS patients and controls.
Methods: Forty four MS patients and seventy nine healthy control (HC) participants were recruited and tested. They were group matched for age, education, gender and also premorbid cognitive reserve. All of them completed the three tests of the BICAMS battery. Instead of CVLT-2, the Greek validated form (Greek Verbal Learning Test, GVLT), was used. In addition, cognitive reserve was assessed using the Cognitive Reserve Index questionnaire (CRIq) standardized for the Greek population.
Results: Significant difference was found in the performance of the two groups in all tests (p<0.0001, p<0.02, p<0.009 for SDMT, GVLT and BVMT-R respectively). Test-retest reliability was good for all the tests. Based on the criterion of 1 or more tests below the 5th percentile of healthy controls performance, 47% of patients were found impaired.
Conclusions: The study provides validation of BICAMS in Greek population and therefore facilitates the use of this battery in clinical practice and in future studies of MS patients in Greece.
Keywords: BICAMS; Cognition; Cognitive reserve; Multiple Sclerosis.
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