Interhemispheric transfer evaluation in multiple sclerosis1

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Patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) have frequently been found to suffer from damage to callosal fibers. Investigations have shown that this damage is associated with signs of hemisphere disconnections. The aim of our study was to provide evidence for the first signs of interhemispheric dysfunction in a mildly disabled MS population. Therefore, we explored whether the Interhemispheric Transfer (IT) deficit is multi-modal and sought to differentiate two MS evolution forms, on the basis of an interhemispheric disconnection index. Twenty-two patients with relapsing-remitting form of MS (RRMS) and 14 chronic-progressive (CPMS) were compared with matched controls on four tasks: a tachistoscopic verbal and non-verbal decision task, a dichotic listening test, cross tactile finger localization and motor tapping. No overall impairment was seen. The dichotic listening and lexical decision tasks were the most sensitive to MS. In addition, CPMS patients' IT was more impaired and was related to the severity of neurological impairment. The different sizes of the callosal fibers, which determine their vulnerability, may explain the heterogeneity of transfer through the Corpus Callosum. Therefore, evaluation of IT may be of value as an index of evolution in MS.

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