Processing Speed Performance Predicts Structural Brain Indices in Multiple Sclerosis a Decade Later

Open Access
Roman, Cristina Flores-almeida
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
February 26, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Peter Andrew Arnett, Thesis Advisor
  • Jose Angel Soto, Thesis Advisor
  • K Suzanne Scherf, Thesis Advisor
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lesions
  • Atrophy
  • DTI
  • Processing Speed
Processing speed is one of the most commonly found cognitive deficits in multiple sclerosis. Sclerotic lesions, brain atrophy, and white matter damage have been identified as neuropathological consequences of MS, and have been linked to deficits in processing speed. The ability of processing speed performance to predict structural brain damage is still unclear, however. The purpose of the present study is to explore how dysfunction in processing speed, as measured by the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and Symbol Copy test, might predict structural brain damage (i.e., lesions, atrophy, white matter damage) a decade later. Results indicate that the SDMT and Symbol Copy tests predict lesion volume, brain atrophy, and white matter damage 10 years later. Future research should aim to replicate these findings and investigate how processing speed performance may also predict functional neural correlates.