Trait Conscientiousness predicts rate of brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler. 2020 Oct;26(11):1433-1436. doi: 10.1177/1352458519858605. Epub 2019 Jun 20.


Background: Conscientiousness is a core personality trait with favorable prognosis in neuropsychiatric disease.

Objective: We aimed to determine whether baseline Conscientiousness predicts future brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis (MS) after accounting for demographic and basic clinical characteristics.

Methods: Trait Conscientiousness, clinical features, and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) were obtained at baseline. Lateral ventricle volume (LVV) was measured longitudinally. In a retrospective general linear mixed effects model, data from 424 patients were analyzed (mean 6 time-points, up to 15 years).

Results/conclusion: We observed significant age and Conscientiousness by time-from-baseline interactions indicating that younger age and higher Conscientiousness are associated with reduced progression of brain atrophy.

Keywords: Personality; atrophy; conscientiousness; longitudinal; magnetic resonance imaging; predict.

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies