Examination of processing speed deficits in multiple sclerosis using functional magnetic resonance imaging

Helen M. Genova, Frank G. Hillary, Glenn Wylie, Bart Rypma, John Deluca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although it is known that processing speed deficits are one of the primary cognitive impairments in multiple sclerosis (MS), the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for impaired processing speed remain undetermined. Using BOLD functional magnetic resonance imaging, the current study compared the brain activity of 16 individuals with MS to 17 healthy controls (HCs) during performance of a processing speed task, a modified version of the Symbol Digit Modalities Task. Although there were no differences in performance accuracy, the MS group was significantly slower than HCs. Although both groups showed similar activation involving the precentral gyrus and occipital cortex, the MS showed significantly less cerebral activity than HCs in bilateral frontal and parietal regions, similar to what has been reported in aging samples during speeded tasks. In the HC group, processing speed was mediated by frontal and parietal regions, as well as the cerebellum and thalamus. In the MS group, processing speed was mediated by insula, thalamus and anterior cingulate. It therefore appears that neural networks involved in processing speed differ between MS and HCs, and our findings are similar to what has been reported in aging, where damage to both white and gray matter is linked to processing speed impairments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-393
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 30 2009

Keywords

  • Brain mapping
  • Cognition
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Processing speed
  • Symbol Digit Modalities Task
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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