Cognitive impairment in the immune-mediated inflammatory diseases compared with age-matched controls: systematic review and meta-regression

James M. Gwinnutt, Task Toyoda, Michelle Barraclough, Suzanne M. M. Verstappen, Michael Hornberger, Alexander Macgregor

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Objectives: To compare the magnitude of cognitive impairment against age-expected levels across the immune mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs: systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE], rheumatoid arthritis [RA], axial spondyloarthritis [axSpA], psoriatic arthritis [PsA], psoriasis [PsO]).

Methods: A pre-defined search strategy was implemented in Medline, Embase and Psychinfo on 29/05/2021. Inclusion criteria were: (i) observational studies of an IMID, (ii) healthy control comparison, (iii) measuring cognitive ability (overall, memory, complex attention/executive function, language/verbal fluency), and (iv) sufficient data for meta-analysis. Standardised mean differences (SMD) in cognitive assessments between IMIDs and controls were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis. IMIDs were compared using meta-regression.

Results: In total, 65 IMID groups were included (SLE: 39, RA: 19, axSpA: 1, PsA: 2 PsO: 4), comprising 3141 people with IMIDs and 9333 controls. People with IMIDs had impairments in overall cognition (SMD: -0.57 [95% CI -0.70, -0.43]), complex attention/executive function (SMD -0.57 [95% CI -0.69, -0.44]), memory (SMD -0.55 [95% CI -0.68, -0.43]) and language/verbal fluency (SMD -0.51 [95% CI -0.68, -0.34]). People with RA and people with SLE had similar magnitudes of cognitive impairment in relation to age-expected levels. People with neuropsychiatric SLE had larger impairment in overall cognition compared with RA.

Conclusions: People with IMIDs have moderate impairments across a range of cognitive domains. People with RA and SLE have similar magnitudes of impairment against their respective age-expected levels, calling for greater recognition of cognitive impairment in both conditions. To further understand cognition in the IMIDs, more large-scale, longitudinal studies are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number152131
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Early online date12 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

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