Background: MS is frequently associated with cognitive impairments and cerebellar dysfunction. Recent evidence from this group demonstrated that MSers with cerebellar damages have selective cognitive impairment related to attention and language abilities.
“The cerebellum is the small brain that is located at the back of the brain. It controls many of our motor functions and more recently been found to have a role in cognition. People with cerebellar dysfunction have poor balance and co-ordination, slurred speech, jumping eyes or nystagmus and a tremor.”
Objective: In this study the investigators correlated the anatomical abnormalities in RRMSers with (RR-MSc) and without (RR-MSnc) cerebellar signs.
Results: Despite a similar clinical status, RR-MSc were characterized by more severe cognitive damages in attention and language domains with respect to RR-MSnc and controls. With respect to controls, RR-MSnc were characterized by a specific atrophy of the bilateral thalami that became more widespread (including motor cortex) in the RR-MSc group (FWE < 0.05). However, consistent with their well-defined neuropsychological deficits, RR-MSc group showed atrophies in the prefrontal and temporal cortical areas when directly compared with RR-MSnc group.
Conclusion: These results demonstrated that RR-MSers with cerebellar signs were characterized by a distinct neuroanatomical profile, mainly involving cortical regions underpinning executive functions and verbal fluency.