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Poster F100

Factors that Promote Resiliency to Cognitive Decline in People with Multiple Sclerosis

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Elizabeth B. Bukoskey1,2,3,4 (, Janet L. Shucard1,2,3,4, David W. Shucard1,2,3,4, Thomas J. Covey1,2,3,4; 1Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences, 2Department of Neurology, & Neuroscience Program, 3Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 4University at Buffalo

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disorder that negatively impacts cognitive function. An individual’s resiliency to cognitive decline despite neuropathology is considered to reflect their level of cognitive reserve. Engaging in cognitively stimulating experiences is thought to contribute to the accumulation of this reserve. Educational attainment and premorbid intellectual functioning have previously been used as proxies for cognitive reserve in the MS literature. However, these proxies do not account for the full variety of cognitively stimulating activities that an individual could engage in, and therefore they are insufficient to fully capture an individual’s potential cognitive reserve. We aimed to identify a broader range of potential activities that could contribute to cognitive reserve in MS by including factors related to occupation, interpersonal relationships, and game-playing hobbies. Information in each of these areas was obtained alongside conventional measures of cognitive reserve (premorbid IQ, years of education) in people with MS. Participants also completed a comprehensive neuropsychological testing battery that included measures of memory, motor functioning, fluid reasoning, executive functioning, and processing speed. Linear regression analyses revealed current employment status significantly predicted motor performance, processing speed, and fluid reasoning ability; marital status significantly predicted fluid reasoning performance; and video game playing significantly predicted visual-spatial learning and executive functioning. In contrast a conventional cognitive reserve factor did not significantly predict performance in any domain. The findings suggest that employment, interpersonal relationships, and gaming hobbies are neuroprotective factors that can build cognitive reserve over the lifetime in people with MS at risk of cognitive decline.

Topic Area: OTHER


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April 13–16  |  2024