Assessing Current Tools for Detecting Cognitive Loss in Multiple Sclerosis: Dejan Jakimovski, MD, PhD


The research assistant professor at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center detailed the improvements the current batteries for detecting cognitive impairment in MS need. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"I think that BICAMS, what is currently the standard for determining cognitive impairment, is sufficient enough for the general MS population. But, we might want to supplement it with this one additional test of verbal fluency to our aging population. The batteries should be based on the age of our patients.”

Clinicians are still trying to understand how multiple sclerosis (MS) progresses, when there may be underlying changes in the brain, and how it may impact the amount of cognitive decline an individual may experience throughout their life. Determining if a person’s decline is related to their MS or something like Alzheimer disease instead remains a challenge within the field. In addition to that, the advancements in anti-inflammatory, disease-modifying therapies have significantly improved the life expectancy of patients with MS, with the highest prevalence of patients currently within the range of 55 to 64 years of age.

Research led by Dejan Jakimovski, MD, PhD, research assistant professor, Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, will hope to uncover more about the clinically relevant brain structures that cause cognitive decline, more specifically in elders with MS. The research aims to quantify the patterns and extent of neurodegenerative changes, both global brain volume changes and cortical thinning. Jakimovski and his team will then take those findings and compare structure–cognition relationships with patients with MS over 50 years old with previously published data regarding younger patients with MS, aged between 20 to 50 years.

NeurologyLive® caught up with Jakimovski to discuss the challenges in detecting the amount of cognitive decline for a patient and the current batteries used today. He also provided perspective on whether these tools are up to standard, or if adjustments should be made for specific age groups or phenotypes.

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