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Cognitive impairment is a common and debilitating feature of multiple sclerosis (MS) that has only recent gained considerable attention. Clinical neuropsychological studies have made apparent the multifaceted nature of cognitive troubles often encountered in MS and continue to broaden our understanding of its complexity. Radiographic studies have started to decipher the neuroanatomic substrate of MS-related cognitive impairment and have shed light onto its pathogenesis. Where radiographic studies have been limited by inadequate resolution or non-specificity, pathological studies have come to the fore. This review aims to provide an overview of the nature of cognitive impairment typically seen in MS and to explore the literature on imaging and pathological studies relevant to its evolution. In particular, the relative contributions of gray (i.e., cerebral cortex, hippocampus, thalamus and basal ganglia) and white matter to MS-related cognitive impairment will be discussed and the importance of interconnectivity between structures highlighted. The pressing need for longitudinal studies combining standardized neuropsychometric, paraclinical and radiographic outcomes obtained during life with post-mortem tissue analysis after death is presented.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Pathol

Publication Date





79 - 98


cognitive impairment, gray matter, imaging, multiple sclerosis, pathology, white matter, Animals, Brain, Cognition Disorders, Gray Matter, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Multiple Sclerosis, White Matter