Classical galactosemia (CG) is an autosomal recessive disorder of galactose metabolism. Despite early initiation of a galactose-restricted diet, patients develop long-term complications including cognitive impairment. There is an ongoing debate whether the cognitive impairment in CG is stable throughout life or progresses with age. Earlier cross-sectional and longitudinal studies regarding intelligence suggest stability, but longitudinal neuropsychological studies focusing on specific cognitive functions are limited. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess cognitive change over time in adult CG-patients. Ten adult patients with normal to borderline intelligence (mean age 33 years, range 22–49; IQ≥70 or independent work- or living situation) were assessed twice with a mean time interval of 3 years and 9 months (range 1023–1575 days). The neuropsychological assessments covered information processing speed, executive functioning, verbal fluency, and visuospatial functioning. Results showed that there was no significant decline or improvement in test scores on all neuropsychological measures except a decline on the Trail Making Test-A (p = 0.048). However, this group-level difference was subject to “regression to the mean” and was not endorsed by significant change in test scores measuring the same cognitive domain. Moreover, no specific pattern of reliable change (RCI > -1.96) was present on specific measures or within individual patients. This explorative study performed in 10 adult CG-patients with normal to borderline intelligence revealed no cognitive change on several cognitive domains. This implies that the subset of adults with a normal to borderline IQ in their early and middle adulthood are cognitively stable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalJIMD reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • GALT-deficiency
  • cognitive change
  • cognitive functioning
  • galactosemia
  • neuropsychology
  • progression

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