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Cognitive impairment in systemic lupus erythematosus: A population-based neuropsychological study

Author(s): Loukkola J, Laine M, Ainiala H, Peltola J, Metsänoja R, et al.

Abstract

We present a cross-sectional, population-based neuropsychological study of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients identified within Tampere University Hospital district, Finland with 440,000 inhabitants. Patients with definite SLE in the age range of 16-65 years (n =46) and matched controls (n =46) underwent neurological examination and comprehensive neuropsychological testing. On the basis of medical examination, the SLE patients were divided into neuropsychiatric (NP+; n =15) and nonneuropsychiatric (NP—; n =31) cases. The neuropsychological test results revealed more prevalent cognitive impairment in the NP+ patients, indicating that this subgroup mostly accounts for neuropsychological changes in SLE. Most characteristic changes in NP+ were observed in domains of memory, psychomotor speed, and complex attention. This suggests nonspecific CNS involvement, which is in line with neurological manifestations of the disease.

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