January 28, 2020
New research led by Dr. Fulvia Ceccarelli, assistant professor of Rheumatology at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, showed that among the many ways lupus can affect the central nervous system, “pragmatic language” skills was the most common. Pragmatic language is non-literal, going beyond the dictionary meaning of a word or phrase. This includes use of metaphors, idioms, inferences and irony.
The study included 40 adults diagnosed with lupus and 30 people without lupus. Results were collected for each participant’s physical exam, clinical and lab results, medical history, other conditions, disease symptoms and damage. Each were assessed using standard measurement tools for memory, attention, pragmatic language, executive function which refers to the ability to get things done, and visuospatial function (ability to identify visual and spatial relationships among objects). Participants also reported their symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Pragmatic language was the most affected ; 45 percent showed some loss of function in this area. Significantly less people showed affects in memory, executive and visuospatial function. According to a tool used to measure overall cognitive function, 25 percent of people with lupus showed mild affects on function and 7.5 percent had moderate impairment.
Researchers also found that the presence of anti-phospholipid antibodies was linked with memory loss.
The Lupus Research Alliance is supporting much research on this area of neuropsychiatric lupus – how it affects the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Read more about work by Drs. Betty Diamond and Andrea Knight.
Source: PLoS One