Neurological Sciences

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 559–563 | Cite as

Anxiety state affects information processing speed in patients with multiple sclerosis

  • Benedetta Goretti
  • R. G. Viterbo
  • E. Portaccio
  • C. Niccolai
  • B. Hakiki
  • E. Piscolla
  • P. Iaffaldano
  • M. Trojano
  • M. P. Amato
Original Article


The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of anxiety on the cognitive performance of a clinical sample of relapsing—remitting (RR) MS patients. One hundred ninety patients (140 females) were included in the study and assessed through the beck depression inventory, the state-trait anxiety inventory and the Rao’s brief repeatable battery which assesses cognitive domains most frequently impaired in MS. As for neuropsychological performance, a total of 76 (40 %) subjects fulfilled our criterion for cognitive impairment. Tests most frequently failed by cognitive impairment (CI) patients were those assessing complex attention and information processing speed [Simbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Paced Auditory Serial Auditory Test (PASAT) 3 and 2] and verbal memory. In the univariate analysis, state anxiety was related to failure on the SDMT (p = 0.042), and marginally, to failure on the PASAT-3 (p = 0.068), and to the presence of CI (p = 0.082). Moderate/severe depression was detected in 38 (20 %) patients and fatigue in 109 (57 %). Higher depression scores were related to impairment on the ST (OR = 1.05; 95 % CI 1.01–1.10; p = 0.029).


Multiple sclerosis Cognitive impairment Processing speed Anxiety 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benedetta Goretti
    • 1
  • R. G. Viterbo
    • 2
  • E. Portaccio
    • 1
  • C. Niccolai
    • 1
  • B. Hakiki
    • 1
  • E. Piscolla
    • 1
  • P. Iaffaldano
    • 2
  • M. Trojano
    • 2
  • M. P. Amato
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NEUROFARBAUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience and Sense OrgansUniversity of BariBariItaly

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