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Article

Social Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis: A 3-Year Follow-Up MRI and Behavioral Study

1
Neurology Section, Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy
2
Kessler Foundation, 120 Eagle’Rock Ave, Suite 100, East Hanover, NJ 07936, USA
3
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07101, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Both authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Massimiliano Castellazzi
Diagnostics 2021, 11(3), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030484
Received: 21 January 2021 / Revised: 26 February 2021 / Accepted: 5 March 2021 / Published: 9 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Sclerosis Diagnostics)
Social cognition (SC) has become a topic of widespread interest in the last decade. SC deficits were described in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, in association with amygdala lesions, even in those without formal cognitive impairment. In this 3-year follow-up study, we aimed at longitudinally investigating the evolution of SC deficits and amygdala damage in a group of cognitive-normal MS patients, and the association between SC and psychological well-being. After 3 years (T3) from the baseline examination (T0), 26 relapsing-remitting MS patients (RRMS) were retested with a neuropsychological battery and SC tasks (theory of mind, facial emotion recognition, empathy). A SC composite score (SCcomp) was calculated for each patient. Emotional state, fatigue, and quality of life (QoL) were also evaluated. RRMS patients at T3 underwent a 3T-MRI as performed at T0, from which were calculated both volume and cortical lesion volume (CLV) of the amygdalae. Compared to T0, at T3 all RRMS patients were still cognitive-normal and remained stable in their global SC impaired performance. At T0, SCcomp correlated with amygdala CLV (p = 0.002) while, at T3, was more associated with amygdala volume (p = 0.035) rather than amygdala CLV (p = 0.043). SCcomp change T3-T0 correlated with global emotional state (p = 0.043), depression (p = 0.046), anxiety (p = 0.034), fatigue (p = 0.025), and QoL-social functioning (p = 0.033). We showed the longitudinal stability of SC deficits in cognitive-normal RRMS patients, mirroring the amygdala structural damage and the psychological well-being. These results highlight that SC exerts a key role in MS. View Full-Text
Keywords: multiple sclerosis; social cognition; cognitive impairment; amygdala; psychological well-being multiple sclerosis; social cognition; cognitive impairment; amygdala; psychological well-being
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ziccardi, S.; Pitteri, M.; Genova, H.M.; Calabrese, M. Social Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis: A 3-Year Follow-Up MRI and Behavioral Study. Diagnostics 2021, 11, 484. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030484

AMA Style

Ziccardi S, Pitteri M, Genova HM, Calabrese M. Social Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis: A 3-Year Follow-Up MRI and Behavioral Study. Diagnostics. 2021; 11(3):484. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030484

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ziccardi, Stefano, Marco Pitteri, Helen M. Genova, and Massimiliano Calabrese. 2021. "Social Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis: A 3-Year Follow-Up MRI and Behavioral Study" Diagnostics 11, no. 3: 484. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030484

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