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Organ Damage Associated with Worse Cognitive Performance in People with Lupus
In a new study, organ damage was associated with worse cognitive performance in people with lupus. Cognitive dysfunction (CD) or “brain fog ” is a functional impairment whereby an individual exhibits deficits in attention, learning (verbal and nonverbal), memory (short-term and working), problem solving, motor (physical) function, processing speed, visual and auditory processing. At some point during their lives, 70-80% of people with lupus experience brain fog.
Researchers examined the disease and treatment records of 89 people with lupus. They found that organ damage was consistently associated with CD, and resulted in poorer performance in three of seven tests traditionally given to assess cognition. The researchers examined other markers of disease activity, blood test results, and genetic involvement for possible association to CD and none were found. CD can occur in people with lupus who do not exhibit high disease activity at a given point in time. Cognitive screening is important as prevalence of CD was identified by formal testing in only 8% of the group.
One of the study authors, Eric Morand, MBBS, PhD, Monash University, received the Lupus Foundation of America’s 2022 Evelyn V. Hess Award. Learn more about lupus and brain fog.