Cognitive Dysfunction in Lupus is Prevalent and Not Associated with Disease Activity
A new study found a 67.9% prevalence of lupus-related cognitive dysfunction (CD) in people with the disease and the condition is not associated with lupus disease activity. CD or “brain fog” is a functional impairment whereby an individual exhibits deficit in attention, learning (verbal and nonverbal), memory (short-term and working), problem solving, motor (physical) function, processing speed, and visual and auditory processing.
Using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment scale, a group of individuals with and without lupus were screened for CD. In the group, 78 people had lupus and 53 (67.9%) of those persons had CD, exhibiting issues with delayed recall (80.5%), abstract generalization (79.2%) and verbal repetition and fluency (76.6%). Those with CD did not demonstrate lupus disease activity. When compared to the non-CD lupus group, those people with CD and lupus were older, had a higher age of lupus onset and fewer years of education. Also, those that had increased levels of anti-NMDAR antibody serum (produced by the body’s autoimmune system) had increased likelihood of lupus-related CD.
CD is reported to affect up to 90% of people with lupus and can manifest before the occurrence of neuropsychiatric lupus. The condition has multiple drivers and therefore treatment should be individually tailored. Learn about coping with the cognitive symptoms of lupus.