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Cognitive impairment is common and associated with decreased quality of life and increased symptom severity in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is a rare disease that can variably impact cognitive abilities, but there is little understanding of how this relates to various patient characteristics. A study published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine sought to explore the cognitive profiles of NMOSD patients and understand the potential differences based on their serostatus. 

Cognitive Impairment and NMOSD

The study found that 34% of patients had global cognitive impairment (CI), with similar demographic and clinical characteristics to patients without CI. However, those with cognitive impairment reported lower satisfaction with life, more severe symptoms, higher levels of perceived stigma, and greater interference of pain in their lives. The study also noted the frequencies of impairment in different cognitive domains, including verbal and visual memory, attention, and semantic fluency. However, there were no significant differences in demographic and clinical characteristics between patients with and without global CI.

Relationship Between Cognitive Function and AQP4-IgG Status in NMOSD Patients

In addition, the study revealed that 27 out of 41 patients (66%) were AQP4-IgG positive, and there were no significant differences in cognitive function between AQP4-IgG-positive and -negative patients. The study suggests that cognitive impairment is common in patients with NMOSD and is associated with decreased quality of life and increased symptom severity. However, AQP4-IgG status does not play a significant role in cognitive impairment in NMOSD patients.

Importance of Cognitive and Psychological Evaluations in NMOSD 

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The patients’ cognitive abilities were found to be primarily linked to their mood, level of fatigue, outlook on life, and how they perceive their disease. To provide comprehensive care to patients with NMOSD, it is important to include cognitive and psychological evaluations as part of their treatment plan.


Lopez-Soley, E., Meca-Lallana, J. E., Llufriu, S., Blanco, Y., Gómez-Ballesteros, R., Maurino, J., Pérez-Miralles, F., Forero, L., Calles, C., Martinez-Gines, M. L., Gonzalez-Suarez, I., Boyero, S., Romero-Pinel, L., Sempere Á, P., Meca-Lallana, V., Querol, L., Costa-Frossard, L., Sepulveda, M., & Solana, E. (2022). Cognitive Performance and Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients with Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder. J Pers Med, 12(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12050743

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