A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Brief Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS)

Freya Corfield, Dawn Langdon
Neurology and Therapy 2018 June 19

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease of the central nervous system which can lead to a range of severe physical disabilities. A large proportion of those affected will experience cognitive impairment, which is associated with a worse prognosis. Effective assessment of cognition in MS has been problematic due to a lack of suitable scales. The Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) was developed in 2010 as part of an international endeavour to facilitate cognitive assessment.

AIM: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to synthesise the available literature published as part of the BICAMS international validation protocol.

METHODS: A literature search conducted using PubMed, PsycINFO and Google Scholar identified 16 studies for inclusion in the systematic review, 14 of which could be included in a meta-analysis.

RESULTS: BICAMS has been widely validated across 11 languages and 14 individual cultures and locations. The meta-analysis demonstrated that BICAMS identified significantly reduced cognitive functioning in adults with MS compared to healthy controls. This was true for all three cognitive domains assessed by BICAMS: information processing speed (g = 0.943, 95% CI 0.839, 1.046, g < 0.001), immediate verbal recall memory (g = 0.688, 95% CI 0.554, 0.822, p < 0.001) and immediate visual recall memory (g = 0.635, 95% CI 0.534, 0.736, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: BICAMS has been widely applied across cultures and languages to assess cognition in MS. BICAMS offers a feasible, cost-effective means of assessing cognition in MS worldwide. Further validation studies are underway to support this project.

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