Does multiple sclerosis cause progressive and widespread cognitive decline?

  • Marina Katsari
  • Dimitrios Kasselimis
  • Georgios Koutsis
  • Constantin Potagas


The existence of cognitive deficits in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can be supported by clinical observation and assessment or large-scale research studies. The fact that part of the MS patient population does demonstrate some type of cognitive impairment may be unequivocal, although a crucial question remains: Is this impairment in the context of a progressive decline? The literature provides inconclusive evidence. Nevertheless, the notion of “MS dementia” seems to be gaining popularity during the last decade. In this short review, we present the findings of the main longitudinal studies on cognitive course of MS patients in an attempt to reveal the vulnerabilities of that particular view. Overall, we corroborate the idea that MS does not inevitably result in cognitive decline with advancing age, and further argue that researchers and clinicians should take the emerging trend of “MS Dementia”with a grain of salt.

General article