Language impairments in patients with multiple sclerosis

Document Type : Review Articles


MSc, Speech and Language Pathology, Department of Speech Therapy, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran



Introduction: Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most common diseases of the human’s nervous system affecting mostly young adults.  In addition to common sings of body weakness, vertigo and diplopia, motor speech disorders characteristic of dysarthria can be seen in 40% to 50% of patients. Because of subcortical nature of lesions observed in the disease, intact language performance has been assumed for affected people resulting in ignorance of assessment and subsequent treatment of linguistic functions in intervention plans developed for MS patients. Due to the importance of language in human communication and quality of life, this research has been conducted with the aim of studying presence and types of language disorders in MS patients.Materials and Methods: A review of the literature on the subject of language performance in Multiple Sclerosis patients was performed using ISI, Ebsco, Pubmed, Elsevier data bases and library sources. Initial searching was done via following keywords: language, speech, rehabilitation, cognition and multiple sclerosis. Having collected sufficient amount of data, inclusion criteria concerning the method of research was set for evaluating of search results. Through studying abstracts, those articles in which speech and language abilities or cognition abilities related to language have been studied were only selected.Results: Of 78 articles found in the first step of study, 28 articles were finally selected for further evaluation.Conclusion: The results of this study indicated that there were different types of language disorders including naming and verbal fluency impairments, high – level language impairments and problems of discourse structure that should be attended during assessment and treatment of MS patients.Keywords: Multiple sclerosis, Language, Cognition, Speech, Naming