Analyzing Cognitive Profiles in Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer Disease: Le Hua, MD


The director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health discussed findings from a study that compared cognitive profiles between patients with multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer disease. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

"We might be able to learn more from studying these 2 diseases and comparing them may lead to how we think about treatment and crossover in certain therapies. It may teach us how to better treat AD and our studies for AD might teach us how to better treat neurodegenerative processes that are happening in MS.”

A little more than 50% of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience cognitive impairment because of the disease. Despite advancements in research, there remains a gap in understanding cognitive challenges among older patients with MS. Recent findings from a retrospective observational study indicated a nuanced cognitive profile in MS, encompassing both cortical and subcortical functions. These findings imply that distinguishing cognitive effects of MS from Alzheimer disease (AD) at severe impairment levels may be less straightforward than previously assumed by clinicians.1

The results were presented at the 2024 Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum, February 29 to March 2, by senior author Le Hua, MD. Using a cohort of 163 patients (MS, n = 85; matched from memory clinic, n = 78), investigators set up 6 groups based on patients’ clinical workup and neuropsychological exam: cognitively normal, cognitively normal with MS, mild neurocognitive disorder, major neurocognitive disorder. Researchers then compared cognitive test performance, percentage of the group impaired on specific cognitive skills, and rates of cognitive impairment in between the groups.

Hua, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview at the forum to discuss how the study findings challenge the traditional understanding of cognitive profiles in MS and AD. In addition, she spoke about the study’s implications for diagnosis and treatment approaches in neurodegenerative conditions. Furthermore, Hua talked about how the overlap in cognitive profiles between MS and Ad might influence patient care and management strategies.

Click here for more coverage of ACTRIMS 2024.

1. Galioto R, Hancock L, Rhoads T, et al. Comparing Cognitive Profiles in Older Adults With Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer's Disease: More Similarities Than Differences. Presented at ACTRIMS Forum 2024; February 29 to March 2; West Palm Beach, Florida. P366.
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