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Functional Neurology

Early treatment with high-dose interferon beta-1areverses cognitive and cortical plasticity deficits in multiple sclerosis

Original Article, 163 - 168
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Acute inflammation is associated with cognitivedeficits and alterations of cortical plasticity in multiplesclerosis (MS). We tested whether early treatment withhigh-dose interferon (IFN) beta-1a, known to reduce in-flammatory activity, improves cortical function andcognitive deficits in MS.Eighty treatment-naïve relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)patients received IFN beta-1a (44 mcg) subcutaneouslythree times per week. Cognitive performance and corti-cal plasticity were measured through the paced audito-ry serial addition test (PASAT) and intermittent thetaburst stimulation (iTBS) before and up to two years af-ter IFN beta-1a initiation. Before treatment, patients with gadolinium-enhancinglesions (Gd+) on MRI performed worse on the PASAT,and showed lower iTBS-induced plasticity, comparedwith Gd- patients. Six months after treatment initiationboth PASAT and iTBS-induced plasticity improved inGd+ and remained stable in Gd- patients. These results suggest that cognitive and synapticplasticity deficits may be rescued during high-doseIFN beta-1a treatment in newly-diagnosed RRMS pa-tients with Gd+ lesions.

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