Maltby, V. E., Lea, R. A., Reeves, P., Saugbjerg, B., Lechner-Scott, J.
BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairment is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). The effect of cognitive impairment in people with MS on employment, quality of life and mental health is known, however, few studies have investigated if cognitive deficits contribute to the economic burden of MS. OBJECTIVE: To investigate if cognitive impairment correlates with the economic burden of MS. METHODS: The client service receipt inventory was used to determine cost to the healthcare system, participant out of pocket cost, community cost and total societal cost. Quality of life was evaluated using the EuroQoL. Participants cognitive performance was assessed with the Audio Recorded Cognitive Screen and the symbol digit modalities test. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (r) was used to gauge the strength of the correlation between domain scores and cost metrics. RESULTS: Memory, speed of writing and the symbol digit modalities test were all negatively correlated with all aspects of cost of care (r = 0.24-0.59, P < 0.5). This was found to be independent of other factors, such as EDSS or mental health indices. CONCLUSION: Cognitive deficits are independently correlated with the economic burden of MS and should be monitored as part of routine care.