Multiple Sclerosis, 1 June 2003, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 302-306(5)
Di Legge S.; Piattella M.C.; Pozzilli C.; Pantano P.; Caramia F.; Pestalozza I.F.; Paolillo A.; Lenzi G.L.
Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Rome, Italy
We investigated the relationship between emotional changes, brain lesion burden and development of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Thirty-seven consecutive patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) were prospectively assessed with the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), the 21-item Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and gadolinium enhanced (Gd+) MRI scans.
BDI and STAI were also administered to 36 age-matched controls.
Conversion to MS was defined as the occurrence of a clinical relapse.
CIS patients were more likely to endorse symptoms of anxiety and depression than controls.
Baseline scores for depression and anxiety did not correlate with the total lesion load (i.e., volume of Gd+, T2 and T1 lesions) and the number of Gd+ lesions during the first six months of follow-up.
A positive correlation was found between severity of depressive scores and the lesion load in the right temporal region (P=0.005).
After 33±6 months of the study entry, patients who had a clinical relapse were more frequently depressed (P=0.001) than those relapse free.
Emotional disturbances are frequently observed in CIS patients and show a tendency towards a normalization in relapse-free patients.
The increased rate of depressive symptoms observed in patients who developed MS seems to result from a combination of psychological and organic features.
The lesion load in the right temporal region is confirmed as a key area for developing depressive symptoms, even in the early phase of the disease.