Slowed processing on the alerting, orienting and executive control components of attention measured using the Attention Network Test-Interactions (ANT-I) have been widely reported in multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite the assumption that these components correspond to specific neuroanatomical networks in the brain, little is known about gray matter changes that occur in MS and their association with ANT-I performance. We investigated vertex-wise cortical thickness changes and deep gray matter volumetric changes in young MS participants (N = 21, age range: 18–35) with pediatric or young-adult onset and mild disease severity. ANT-I scores and cortical thickness were not significantly different between MS participants and healthy volunteers (N = 19, age range: 18–35), but thalamic volumes were significantly lower in MS. Slowed reaction times on the alerting component in MS correlated significantly with reduced volume of the right pallidum in MS. Slowed reaction times on executive control component correlated significantly with reduced thickness in the frontal, parietal and visual cortical areas and with reduced volume of the left putamen in MS. These findings demonstrate associations between gray matter changes and attentional performance even in the absence of widespread atrophy or slowed attentional processes.
- Cortical thickness
- Executive control
- Frontoparietal attention network
- Pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas