Cognitive Function Found to Be Largely Stable Over Time in Adults with Lupus
A new study examined how cognitive function changes in adults with lupus. Researchers found relative stability in cognition over time. Those who tested at a low cognition level generally stayed at a low level, and those who tested at a high cognition level largely maintained a high level of cognition. For those who saw an increase in cognition function over time, that improvement was associated with increasing age and higher education, whereas cognitive decline was associated with self-reported disease severity and depression.
Researchers analyzed 1,281 adults with lupus every year, over a seven-year period to assess cognition as measured by verbal learning, memory, and fluency. This was the first long-term study to examine cognitive function in individuals with lupus by comparing test scores on repeated assessments year after year. The results showed that most individuals with lupus did not move to different levels of cognition over time, which suggests cognitive stability. Yet, a number of variables were involved in changes in cognition, including age, level of education, self-reported depression and self-reported disease severity.
Cognitive impairment is common in people with lupus and often associated with unemployment, disability, poor mental health and is known to negatively impact social role participation. This study was led by Lupus Canada Catalyst Awardee Zahi Touma, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Touma continues to research lupus, especially cognitive impairment, with the goal of identifying and understanding the impact on quality of life. Learn more about his work and how to cope with the cognitive symptoms of lupus.
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