Brain activation patterns and cognitive processing speed in patients with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis

Nadine Akbar, Brenda Banwell, John G. Sled, Malcolm A. Binns, Sam M. Doesburg, Bart Rypma, Magdalena Lysenko, Christine Till

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aimed to determine the extent and pattern of brain activation elicited by a functional magnetic resonance imaging version of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (fMRI-SDMT), a task of information processing speed, in pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (MS) patients as compared to sex- and age-matched non-MS self-reported healthy individuals. Method: Participants included 20 right-handed individuals aged 13-24 years with pediatric-onset MS (mean age = 19 years, 15 female) and 16 non-MS self-reported healthy individuals. All participants underwent a 3.0-tesla MRI scan with structural (T1; T2; proton density, PD; fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, FLAIR) and fMRI-SDMT acquisition. Participants were instructed to indicate with a button press whether a single pairing of a symbol to a number matched any of those shown in a key that displays nine possible pairings. Results: Response time (p =.909) and accuracy (p =.832) on the fMRI-SDMT did not differ between groups. However, the MS group demonstrated lower overall activation than the non-MS group in the right middle frontal gyrus (p =.003). Within the MS group, faster response time was associated with greater activation of the right inferior occipital, anterior cingulate, right superior parietal, thalamus, and left superior occipital cortices (all p

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-403
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 2016


  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pediatrics
  • Processing speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Psychology

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