Executive dysfunction, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Evidence for basal ganglia dysfunction?

Ricardo Oliveira Horta Maciel, Gilda Aparecida Ferreira, Bárbara Akemy, Francisco Cardoso
Journal of the Neurological Sciences 2016 January 15, 360: 94-7

INTRODUCTION: Chorea is well described in a group of patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). There is less information, however, on other movement disorders as well as non-motor neuropsychiatric features such as obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS), executive dysfunction and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in subjects with SLE.

METHODS: Fifty-four subjects with SLE underwent a battery of neuropsychiatric tests that included the Mini Mental State Examination, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB), the FAS verbal and the categorical (animals) semantic fluency tests, the Obsessive and Compulsive Inventory - Revised, the Yale-Brown Obsessive and Compulsive Scale and Beck's Anxiety and Depression Scales. ADHD was diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria. SLE disease activity and cumulative damage were evaluated according to the modified SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 (mSLEDAI-2K) and the SLICC/ACR, respectively.

RESULTS: Six (11.1%) and 33 (61.1%) patients had cognitive impairment according to the MMSE and MoCA, respectively. Eleven (20.4%) had abnormal FAB scores, and 5 (9.3%) had lower semantic fluency scores than expected. The overall frequency of cognitive dysfunction was 72.2% (39 patients) and of neuropsychiatric SLE was 77.8% (42 patients). Two patients (3.7%) had movement disorders. Fifteen (27.8%) had OCS and 17 (31.5%) met diagnostic criteria for ADHD. ADHD and OCS correlated with higher disease activity, p=0.003 and 0.006, respectively. Higher cumulative damage correlated with lower FAB scores (p 0.026).

CONCLUSIONS: Executive dysfunction, ADHD, OCS, and movement disorders are common in SLE. Our finding suggests that there is frequent basal ganglia dysfunction in SLE.

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