Subjective cognitive fatigue and autonomic abnormalities in multiple sclerosis patients
Number of pages
SourceFrontiers in Neurology, 8, (2017), article 475
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
Frontiers in Neurology
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory; Neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Background: Cognitive fatigue and autonomic abnormalities are frequent symptoms in MS. Our model of MS-related fatigue assumes a shared neural network for cognitive fatigue and autonomic failures, i.e., aberrant vagus nerve activity induced by inflammatory processes. Therefore, they should occur in common. Objective: To explore the relationship between cognitive fatigue and autonomic symptoms in MS patients, using self-reported questionnaires. Methods: In 95 MS patients cognitive fatigue was assessed with the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMC), and autonomic abnormalities with the Composite Autonomic Symptom Scale-31 (COMPASS-31). We used exploratory correlational analyses and hierarchical regression analysis, controlling for age, depressive mood, disease status and disease duration, to analyze the relation between autonomic abnormalities and cognitive fatigue. Results: The cognitive fatigue score strongly correlated with the COMPASS-31 score (r=0.47, p<0.001). Regression analysis revealed that a model including the COMPASS-31 domains pupillomotor, orthostatic intolerance and bladder best predict the level of cognitive fatigue (R=0.69, p<0.001) after forcing the covariates into the model. Conclusion: In MS patients cognitive fatigue and autonomic dysfunction share a large proportion of common variance. This supports our model assuming that fatigue might be explained at least partially by inflammation-induced vagus nerve activity.
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