Epub ahead of print:
Langdon et al. Recommendations for a Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS). Mult Scler. 2011 Dec 21.
Background: Cognitive impairment in MS impacts negatively on many MS’ers at all disease stages and in all subtypes. Full clinical cognitive assessment is expensive, requiring expert staff and special equipment. Test versions and normative data are not available for all languages and cultures.
Objective: To recommend a brief cognitive assessment for MS that is optimized for small centers, with one or few staff members, who may not have neuropsychological training and constructed to maximize international use.
Methods: An expert committee of twelve members representing the main cultural groups that have so far contributed considerable data about MS cognitive dysfunction was convened. Following exhaustive literature review, peer-reviewed articles were selected to cover a broad spectrum of cultures and scales that targeted cognitive domains vulnerable to MS. Each was rated by two committee members and candidates scales were rated on psychometric qualities (reliability, validity, and sensitivity), international application, ease of administration, feasibility in the specified context, and acceptability to patients.
Results: The committee recommended the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, if only 5 minutes was available, with the addition of the California Verbal Learning Test – Second Edition and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test – Revised learning trials if a further 10 minutes could be allocated for testing.
Conclusions: A brief cognitive assessment for MS has been recommended. A validation protocol has been prepared for language groups and validation studies have commenced.
“This initiative is an attempt to get cognitive testing adopted into routine clinical practice. How do you know if you are cognitively impaired if you are not tested for it?”