#ClinicSpeak & #ResearchSpeak: personality and its interactions with MS

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How large is your cognitive reserve? Your personality may reflect this and protect you from memory loss. #ClinicSpeak #ResearchSpeak #MSBlog

Did you know that in the general population ‘openness‘, a personality trait, is associated with better memory. Why? Openness encompasses intellectual
curiosity, aesthetic sensitivity, and imagination and
is positively correlated with measured IQ and education. Therefore, openness is associated with greater cognitive reserve. In the study below the investigators have extended this work into MS and show that openness and lower neuroticism is associated with better memory in pwMS. In comparison lower conscientiousness is associated with memory impairment. If you are interested you can complete the 5-factor personality test online and see how open or neurotic you are.



BACKGROUND: Memory impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) is common, although few risk/protective factors are known.

OBJECTIVE: To examine relationships of personality to memory/non-memory cognition in MS.

METHOD: 80 patients completed a cognitive battery and a personality scale measuring the “Big 5” traits: openness, neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, and conscientiousness.

RESULTS: Memory was most related to openness, with higher openness linked to better memory and lower risk for memory impairment, controlling for age, atrophy, education, and intelligence quotient (IQ). Lower neuroticism was also related to better memory, and lower conscientiousness to memory impairment. Non-memory cognition was unrelated to personality.

CONCLUSION: Personality may inform predictive models of memory impairment in MS.

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

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