Cognitive difficulties

The primary language disorders which are common in other neurological conditions are very rare in MS. So-called “higher level” language skills, such as comprehending complex verbal information, may be compromised in some people with MS. Although words and language skills are probably intact, reaching them and organising them on demand may not be reliable. Many people with MS do experience difficulties finding the right word at times (possibly due to poor attention or fatigue). Even though the word might be safely stored in the brain and well known, locating it can be difficult (“access disorder” mediated by executive dysfunction). Taking in a lot of spoken information may also be hard due to slowed information processing. Asking people to speak more slowly is likely to help.

Further Reading

Barwood CH, Murdoch BE. Language abilities of patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis: A preliminary group and case investigation. Int J Speech Lang Pathol. 2013 Feb 4.

Joly H, Cohen M, Lebrun C. Demonstration of a lexical access deficit in relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive forms of multiple sclerosis. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2014 Aug-Sep;170(8-9):527-30.

Renauld S, Mohamed-Saïd L, Macoir J. Language disorders in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2016 Nov;10:103-111.


One rehabilitation study improved naming.

Gich J, Freixanet J, García R, Vilanova JC, Genís D, Silva Y, Montalban X, Ramió-Torrentà L. A randomized, controlled, single-blind, 6-month pilot study to evaluate the efficacy of MS-Line!: a cognitive rehabilitation programme for patients with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2015 Sep;21(10):1332-43.

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