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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Visual-Attentional Load Unveils Slowed Processing Speed in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Pilot Study with a Tablet-Based Videogame

Neurology Section, Department of Neuroscience, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Both authors contributed equally to this work.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(11), 871; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110871
Received: 5 October 2020 / Revised: 4 November 2020 / Accepted: 16 November 2020 / Published: 18 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Involvement in Multiple Sclerosis)
Slowing in information processing speed (IPS) is the key cognitive deficit in multiple sclerosis (MS). Testing IPS in different cognitive load conditions by using computerized tools might reveal initial IPS slowness underestimated by classic paper-and-pencil tests. To investigate the extent to which IPS can be affected by increased task demands, we developed three tasks based on the manipulation of the visual-attentional load, delivered with a home-made, tablet-based videogame. Fifty-one patients with MS (pwMS), classified as having no cognitive impairment in classic paper-and-pencil tests, and 20 healthy controls (HC) underwent the videogame tasks; reaction times (RTs) and accuracy were recorded. A significant reduced performance of pwMS as compared with HC was found on the videogame tasks, with pwMS being on average slower and less accurate than HC. Furthermore, pwMS showed a significantly more pronounced decrement in accuracy as a function of the visual-attentional load, suggesting a higher susceptibility to increased task demands. Significant correlations among the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and the videogame mean RTs and accuracy were found, providing evidence for the concurrent validity of the videogame as a valid tool to test IPS in pwMS. The high potential that might derive from the adoption of computerized assessment tools in clinical practice should be taken into consideration and investigated further. View Full-Text
Keywords: multiple sclerosis; speed of processing; visual-attentional load; videogame; computerized assessment multiple sclerosis; speed of processing; visual-attentional load; videogame; computerized assessment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pitteri, M.; Dapor, C.; Ziccardi, S.; Guandalini, M.; Meggiato, R.; Calabrese, M. Visual-Attentional Load Unveils Slowed Processing Speed in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Pilot Study with a Tablet-Based Videogame. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 871. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110871

AMA Style

Pitteri M, Dapor C, Ziccardi S, Guandalini M, Meggiato R, Calabrese M. Visual-Attentional Load Unveils Slowed Processing Speed in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Pilot Study with a Tablet-Based Videogame. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(11):871. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110871

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pitteri, Marco; Dapor, Caterina; Ziccardi, Stefano; Guandalini, Maddalena; Meggiato, Riccardo; Calabrese, Massimiliano. 2020. "Visual-Attentional Load Unveils Slowed Processing Speed in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Pilot Study with a Tablet-Based Videogame" Brain Sci. 10, no. 11: 871. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110871

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