Eyal Muscal, MD, Baylor College of Medicine

"Cognitive Impairment and White Matter Changes in Pediatric Lupus"

2008 Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Lupus Research Program

This grant award is made possible through support of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation in memory of Michael Jon Barlin

Lupus affects ten thousand American children and may damage brain tissue. Disease effects on the brain may include intellectual impairment. Impairment in problem solving and organization can be seen in pediatric patients (executive dysfunction) and may be associated with white matter damage. White matter maturation during adolescence streamlines brain connections. Disruptions of this process may have significant intellectual implications. Non-invasive MRI studies visualize areas of white matter damage in other brain diseases. We will measure lupus severity, markers of inflammation and intellectual performance in adolescent patients. White matter imaging results will be compared against cognitive test scores in a subset of children.