The BICAMS Battery for Assessment of Lithuanian-Speaking Multiple Sclerosis Patients: Relationship with Age, Education, Disease Disability, and Duration

Nataša Giedraitienė, Rasa Kizlaitienė, Gintaras Kaubrys
Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research 2015, 21: 3853-9
BACKGROUND Assessment of cognitive impairment (CI) in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is very useful, but it requires time-consuming expert evaluation with specialized materials. The Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) was created as a brief and specific instrument for the evaluation of CI. The aims of this study were to assess the cognitive status of MS patients by using the Lithuanian version of BICAMS, to evaluate the test-retest reliability of the Lithuanian version of BICAMS, and to measure the impact of CI on disability and duration of MS. MATERIAL AND METHODS We enrolled 50 MS patients and 20 cognitively normal control subjects, matched for age, gender, and level of education. Cognitive functions were assessed by the BICAMS tests, which include the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test Revised, and the California Verbal Learning Test, 2nd edition. RESULTS MS patients performed significantly worse than controls on the 3 neuropsychological tests of BICAMS (p<0.001). Younger and intellectually employed persons performed significantly better on these tests than older persons, manual workers, or unemployed persons (p<0.05). MS patients with higher disability scores tended to perform worse on the tests (p<0.05), but we found no relationship between BICAMS test scores and the duration of the disease or relapse rate (p>0.05). Test-retest reliability was excellent for all 3 subtests (r>0.8, p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS Our study shows that BICAMS is a valid and acceptable cognitive assessment tool that can be recommended for routine use in Lithuania for assessing patients with MS.

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