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Progressive decline of decision-making performances during multiple sclerosis


The purpose of this study was to evaluate longitudinally, using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), the dynamics of decision-making capacity at a two-year interval (median: 2.1 years) in a group of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) (n = 70) and minor neurological disability [Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) ≤ 2.5 at baseline]. Cognition (memory, executive functions, attention), behavior, handicap, and perceived health status were also investigated. Standardized change scores [(score at retest-score at baseline)/standard deviation of baseline score] were computed. Results showed that IGT performances decreased from baseline to retest (from 0.3, SD = 0.4 to 0.1, SD = 0.3, p = .005). MS patients who worsened in the IGT were more likely to show a decreased perceived health status and emotional well-being (SEP-59; p = .05 for both). Relapsing rate, disability progression, cognitive, and behavioral changes were not associated with decreased IGT performances. In conclusion, decline in decision making can appear as an isolated deficit in MS. (JINS, 2009, 15, 291–295.)

Corresponding author
*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. Myriam Schluep, Department of Neurology BH07, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Rue du Bugnon 46, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland. E-mail:
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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society
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