ABS TR ACT Objectives: Neurocognitive dysfunction has been established in several studies in children with beta-thalassemia major (TM). However, despite its wide occurrence in populations across the Arabian Peninsula, scant attention has been paid to shedding light on neuropsychological functioning among adults with TM. This study aimed to examine the level of neuropsychological functioning among Omani adults with TM regularly followed-up at a tertiary care hospital in Oman. A related aim was to examine the factors associated with neuropsychological performance. Methods: Standard neuropsychological tests were used to measure attention and concentration, learning and remembering, verbal fluency, and executive functioning. Participants were also gauged on indices of intellectual ability and affective range. As normative data for neuropsychological functioning in Oman is scarce, healthy age-and sex-matched controls underwent the same testing procedure. The log-linear model was used to identify factors associated with TM patients on demographic and neuropsychological performance. Results: This study recruited 28 adult patients with TM (age 30.0±6.5) and 39 healthy controls (age 29.2±6.1). Findings suggested that having a diagnosis of TM was significantly associated with symptoms of depression (p < 0.001) and anxiety (p < 0.001), indices of executive functioning (verbal fluency) (p = 0.003), working memory (digit span) (p < 0.001), and verbal and auditory attention scores (California Verbal Learning, p = 0.002). Conclusions: The data appears to suggest that short-term memory capacity, verbal fluency, and verbal and auditory attention may be impaired in TM compared to controls. Studies on a larger cohort are therefore warranted.
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