Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore say they have found that visual function in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients correlates with cognitive function, suggesting disease severity and outcomes of neuroprotective therapies in MS patients may be assessed through visual function measurements.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses near infrared light to provide cross-sectional images of the retinal architecture, which enables the quantitative measurement of retinal conditions, such as ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer (GCIP) thickness.
It is known that in MS patients, GCIP thickness is associated with visual function, gray matter volume, and disability, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores. Whether GCIP thickness and visual function are related to cognitive function had been unknown to date.
Researchers aimed to unravel GCIP thickness and visual function correlated with cognitive measures and results demonstrated that patients with RRMS, but not progressive MS, exhibited significant associations between GCIP thickness and cognitive function. The associations were restricted to patients without a history of optic neuritis, a demyelinating inflammation of the optic nerve.
The results suggested that the anterior visual pathway function is associated with cognitive function in MS patients. In RRMS patients without a history of optic neuritis, GCIP could be a useful tool in the measurement of global disease aspects, and in providing information on the outcomes of neuroprotective therapies in clinical trials for patients with MS.
Source: Multiple Sclerosis News Today, 03 June 2016, Ines Martins PHD