Modeling cognitive impairment in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus
Administrative Supplement to Promote Diversity in Lupus Research was awarded to Carolina Munoz-Grajales for her research contribution to this project.
At least a third of people with lupus have some sort of cognitive impairment—problems with memory, thinking speed, attention span, and planning abilities—that can negatively impact their quality of life. But there is no organized way to classify them into subtypes in order to identify those most at risk, what puts them at risk, or predict how their cognitive abilities will fare as time passes.
With grant support from the Lupus Research Alliance, Dr. Touma aims to change that using a study of lupus patients linking their demographic data, clinical symptoms, profiles of important cytokines (hormones used by the immune system) and antibodies, with their cognitive abilities over time. He has already collected these data from a few hundred people with lupus at three time points over the course of a year and will use that information to sort the patients into groups. Then he will plug the data into a computer model that he designed to find factors that might put patients at risk so he can try to predict how their cognition will do in the future. After gathering more data from the same patients over the course of the following year, he’ll be able to see how his predictive computer model worked.
What this study means for people with lupus
Dr. Touma is working to divide people with lupus into subtypes based on their cognitive symptoms in order to predict how those symptoms will progress over time.