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A Computerized Assessment of Verbal and Visuospatial Memory (Dys)functions in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Authors
  • Petra, Cristian Vasile1
  • Visu-Petra, Laura2
  • Buta, Monica2
  • Tămaș, Maria Magdalena1
  • Benga, Oana2
  • Rednic, Simona1
  • 1 Department of Rheumatology, "Iuliu Hatieganu" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. , (Oman)
  • 2 Developmental Psychology Lab, Department of Psychology, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. , (Oman)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Psychology research and behavior management
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
Volume
13
Pages
619–629
Identifiers
DOI: 10.2147/PRBM.S261312
PMID: 32801959
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory systemic disease associated with various degrees of impairment across different cognitive domains. We aimed to provide a detailed computerized investigation of verbal and visuospatial short-term and working memory (dys)functions in RA patients, assessing both accuracy and response speed, while relating them to age, disease-related activity, affective problems, psychomotor speed and other clinical parameters. The study included 29 RA patients (mean age 50.6 ± 12.3 years, 79% female) and 30 controls (matched according to age, gender and education), assessed with short-term and working memory tasks from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) and the Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA). RA patients were significantly slower on the basic processing speed test (Motor Screening Test, p =0.003). Their short-term information storage (verbal and visuospatial) was comparable to controls, yet this similar accuracy came at the expense of a longer response time to retain information correctly (on spatial span, p = 0.04). On tasks with higher executive demands, both visuospatial and verbal working memory were compromised, as RA patients took longer (p = 0.004) and had a higher number of total errors (p = 0.02) when conducting a strategic memory-guided search (Spatial Working Memory), and had a significantly lower verbal working memory span on the backwards digit recall test (p = 0.02). The findings of this study emphasize the usefulness of performing computerized tests to detect subtle signs of cognitive impairment and of intact performance, which can inform memory training protocols for this vulnerable population. © 2020 Petra et al.

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