Using strategies to promote intellectual enrichment among patients with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis could be essential to achieving better cognitive, social, and professional performances during adult life, according to researchers at the University of Florence in Italy.
The finding was the subject of an oral presentation titled, “Cognitive reserve is associated with better cognitive outcome and socio-professional attainment in both adult and pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis,” presented on Thursday at the ongoing 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting in Paris, France.
The use of cognitive and memory exercises is known to benefit long-term memory capacity of patients with adult-onset multiple sclerosis (AOMS).
Cognitive-enriching experiences have been proposed to protect the brain from disease-associated damage and clinical cognitive manifestations.
The research team evaluated and compared the cognitive outcome and socio-professional accomplishments of 111 POMS and 115 AOMS adult patients recruited at five Italian multiple sclerosis centers.
Researchers observed that cognitive reserve had a tendency to be decreased in POMS compared to AOMS patients. Cognitive impairment was present in 36% of patients in the POMS group and 33% in the AOMS group.
No differences were found in social and professional achievements.
Analysis of the entire group studied showed that the presence of cognitive impairment was associated with higher disability, lower cognitive reserve, and older age.
Improved social and professional outcomes were found to be associated with cognitive reserve and lower disability scores, and were more prevalent among male patients.
Overall, the results suggest that cognitive reserve can work as a protective factor for cognitive and socio-professional outcomes for both AOMS and POMS.
Because POMS tend to have lower cognitive reserve, the use of strategies to improve a patient’s intellectual performance may help them prevent long-term cognitive decline and improve several aspects of their adult life.
“Our findings underscore the importance of interventions focusing on intellectual enrichment enhancement, particularly in the pediatric MS population, in order to achieve better cognitive, social and professional performances in adulthood,” the team stated.