Regional gray matter atrophy and neuropsychologcal problems in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

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Abstract

In multiple sclerosis, gray matter atrophy is extensive, and cognitive deficits and mood disorders are frequently encountered. It has been conjectured that focal atrophy is associated with emotional decline. However, conventional MRI has revealed that the pathological characteristics cannot fully account for the mood disorders. Moreover, there is no correlation between cognitive disorders and MRI results in clinically isolated syndromes or in cases of definite multiple sclerosis. In this case-control study, voxel-based morphometric analysis was performed on 11 subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and the results show that these patients exhibit gray matter atrophy. Moreover, the gray matter atrophy in the superior and middle gyri of the right frontal lobe in patients with multiple sclerosis was correlated with scores from the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. The scores obtained with the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status were associated with gray matter atrophy in the middle gyrus of the left frontal lobe, the superior and middle gyrus of the right frontal lobe, the middle gyrus of the left cingulate, the superior and middle gyri of the left frontal lobe, and the triangular area of the left frontal lobe. However, there was no statistical significance. These findings suggest that the cingulate and frontal cortices of the nant hemisphere are the most severely atrophic regions of the brain, and this atrophy is correlated with cognitive decline and emotional abnormalities.

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