Cognitive Impairment in Adult Patients with 5q-Associated Spinal Muscular Atrophy

In previous studies, a below-average, average, or above-average intelligence quotient (IQ) in children with SMA was detected but, aside from a severe physical disability, the cognitive performance of adult SMA patients has not yet been evaluated. The intelligence test used in this study, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, fourth edition (WAIS-IV), was used to measure major intelligence components of adult SMA patients. The WAIS-IV determines four index scores representing verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. Due to time-dependent demands on motor function, the processing speed index score was excluded. IQ index scores of 33 adult SMA patients did not differ from IQ index scores of the normal population. In SMA type-3 patients, the index scores for verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, and working memory did not differ from the normal population but showed a trend of IQ scores towards lower points. Patients with SMA type 2 had lower IQ index scores for working memory (90.33 ± 12.95; p = 0.012) and perceptual reasoning (90.73 ± 12.58; p = 0.013) than the normal population. This study provided further evidence that SMA is a multi-systemic disease and may refute the widespread hypothesis that SMA patients might improve their cognitive skills to compensate for their physical impairment.


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