Although data are mixed, asthma and rheumatologic conditions may be associated with cognitive impairment. Medications may play a role because corticosteroids are associated with memory impairment. Therefore, an easily administered assessment of cognition would be useful in these patients. We assessed relationships between self-rated and clinician-rated cognitive performance and mood in patients with asthma and rheumatologic diseases. Participants included 31adults treated for asthma or rheumatologic disorders (17 receiving chronic prednisone therapy, and 14 not receiving prednisone). An objective assessment of a variety of cognitive domains was administered through clinician and patient-rated assessments of cognition. Composite scores for the objective (Global Clinical Rating [GCR]) and subjective (Neuropsychological Impairment Scale: Global Measure of Impairment [GMI]) measures of cognition were derived. Depression was assessed with the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD-17). A linear regression was conducted with GMI scores as dependent variable and GCR, HRSD-17 scores, and prednisone-use status, as independent variables. Significant differences between prednisone-treated patients and other patients were observed on the GCR, GMI, and HRSD-17. In the regression analysis, HRSD-17 scores, but not GCR scores, significantly predicted GMI scores. Prednisone-treated patients had higher levels of depressive symptoms and subjective and objective cognitive deficits than those not taking prednisone. In the combined patient groups, subjective cognitive assessment was more strongly related to depressive symptoms than objective cognition. Findings suggest physicians should be aware of the potential for cognitive deficits in patients taking corticosteroids and, when appropriate, should consider the use of objective neurocognitive tests or neuropsychology consultation to better characterize its presence and severity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine