Objective: To further investigate objective measures of cognitive fatigue (CF), defined as the inability to sustain performance over time, in newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, by conducting a performance analysis on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) based on the type of errors (omissions vs. incorrect responses) committed. Method: Sixty-two newly diagnosed patients with MS (pwMS) and 41 healthy controls (HC) completed the PASAT. Analysis of the change in performance during the test was performed by comparing the number of correct responses, incorrect responses, and omissions in the 1(st) versus the 3(rd) tertile of the PASAT. Results: A significant decline in accuracy over time was observed to be related to an increment in the number of omissions, significantly more pronounced in pwMS than in HC. No change in the number of incorrect responses throughout the PASAT was observed for either group. Conclusions: CF can be detected even in newly diagnosed pwMS and might objectively manifest as a progressive increase in omissions during a sustained highly demanding task (i.e., PASAT). This pattern may reflect slowed processing speed and increased fatigue in pwMS. Focusing on omissions on the PASAT instead of correct responses only may improve its specificity as an objective measure of CF.
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