OBJECTIVE: To characterize the progression of the cognitive involvement in patients affected by myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) by a longitudinal neuropsychological follow-up study. METHODS: In a previous study we documented an ageing-related decline of frontal and temporal cognitive functions in juvenile/adult forms of DM1, irrespectively of the n(CTG) in leukocytes and the severity of muscle weakness. Here we present the results of a neuropsychological follow-up study performed in 34 out of 70 DM1 patients previously studied. Patients were divided into four groups according to their genotype (E1:50-150; E2:150-500; E3:500-1000; E4: >1000 CTG). The neuropsychological test battery included MMSE, memory, linguistic, level, praxis, attentional and frontal-executive tasks. Statistical analysis was performed by One way MANOVA with repeated measures analysis and by Wilcoxon match paired test. RESULTS: The whole group of patients showed a significant deterioration in linguistic functions, together with a tendency towards decline in executive abilities, confirming a predominant involvement of cognitive functions subserved by fronto-temporal areas. We found no significant correlation between the progression of cognitive decline and the n(CTG) in leukocytes. Moreover, we observed that patients belonging to E2 group, with the highest mean age, got scores lower than E3 patients, with particular regard both to linguistic and executive tasks. CONCLUSIONS: These data support our previous hypothesis that the cognitive damage is confined to frontotemporal functions in adult DM1 patients, with a tendency towards a decline with aging.
- cognitive impairment
- myotonic dystrophy