Cognitive Issues

Few investigators have examined whether youth with JRA experience cognitive sequelae that are associated with treatment or disease variables (Carter et al. 1999; Feldmann et al. 2005). There has been some evidence to suggest that the use of steroids associated with the management of JRA may produce cognitive sequelae (Feldmann et al. 2005). Employing a case-control design, Carter et al. (1999) examined cognitive functioning in youth with JRA and youth with chronic fatigue. Cognitive functioning was measured with the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT). Findings revealed no significant differences between the two groups, with both groups having a mean K-BIT intelligence quotient that was in the average range. This suggested that cognitive functioning of youth with JRA actually may not be impaired.

Another study investigated cognitive function in systemic JRA (Feldmann et al. 2005). Specifically, the investigators examined possible cognitive and fine motor impairments in youth with JRA in comparison with healthy control subjects. Findings revealed that intellectual functioning for the JRA group did not differ from that of the comparison control group. Information processing, memory, and attention in the JRA group also were found to be within normal limits. In fact, motor performance in the JRA group was actually higher than mean scores of the comparison control group. The results of this study corroborate the earlier findings of Carter et al.

(1999) and suggest that cognitive functioning is not impaired in youth with JRA. However, future research might build upon this literature in order to solidify the conclusions of these two studies.

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