No association between body composition and cognition in ambulatory persons with multiple sclerosis: A brief report

Brian M. Sandroff, Elizabeth A. Hubbard, Lara A. Pilutti, Robert W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is evidence that body fat is inversely associ­ated with cognitive functioning in adults from the general popu­lation, and this has been associated with systemic inflammation. The association between body fat and cognition might further be augmented in the presence of an immune-mediated, inflamma­tory disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS). This cross-sectional study investigated the associations between objective measures of body composition and cognitive function in 60 persons with MS. Participants underwent a neurological examination for gen­erating Expanded Disability Status Scale scores, followed by the Brief International Cognitive Assessment in Multiple Sclerosis neuropsychological battery for measurement of cognitive pro­cessing speed, verbal learning and memory, and visual learning and memory. Whole-body fat mass, percent body fat, lean body mass, and bone mineral density were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Whole-body fat mass and percent body fat were not associated with any cognitive outcome (all p > 0.41). However, lean body mass was associated with cognitive processing speed (p < 0.03), and bone mineral density was asso­ciated with cognitive processing speed and verbal learning and memory. Those associations were attenuated and nonsignificant after controlling for age and Expanded Disability Status Scale scores (p > 0.13). Body composition might not represent a target of interventions for improving cognitive processing speed or learning and memory in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 13 2015


  • Body composition
  • Body fat
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive processing speed
  • DXA
  • Disability
  • Learning and memory
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropsychological
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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