Reduction in information processing speed (IPS) is a key deficit in multiple sclerosis (MS). The Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), and Computerized Test of Information Processing (CTIP) are used to measure IPS. Both the PASAT and SDMT are sensitive to deficits in IPS. The CTIP, a newer task, also shows promise. The PASAT has several limitations, and it is often perceived negatively by patients. Yet little supporting quantitative evidence of such perceptions has been presented. Therefore, in this study, subjective ratings of likeability, difficulty, and appropriateness of the PASAT, CTIP, and SDMT were obtained. Ratings were compared between MS patients and healthy controls. It was hypothesized that ratings of the PASAT would differ significantly from those of the SDMT and CTIP. The relationship between subjective ratings and objective performance was evaluated. Sixty-nine MS patients and 68 matched controls rated the three tests in terms of likeability, difficulty, and appropriateness for capturing cognitive deficits often associated with MS using a Likert scale. Both groups rated the PASAT as most difficult and least likeable. The MS group rated the PASAT and SDMT as more appropriate for measuring MS-related deficits than the CTIP. Subjects who performed better on the PASAT were more likely to rate it as easier. Ratings of the SDMT and CTIP did not vary consistently with performance. The findings lend quantitative support to the common belief that the PASAT is perceived as unpleasant. Other tests are available that are similarly sensitive to deficits in IPS and more palatable to the patient.

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Journal International Journal of MS Care
Walker, L.A.S, Cheng, A. (Amy), Berard, J. (Jason), Berrigan, L.I. (Lindsay I.), Rees, L.M. (Laura M.), & Freedman, M.S. (Mark S.). (2013). Tests of information processing speed: What do people with multiple sclerosis think about them?. International Journal of MS Care, 15(SUPPL.1), 2–11. doi:10.7224/1537-2073-15.S1.2