Stacie Bell, PhD: The Effect of Cognitive Impairment on Daily Life in Patients with SLE

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Stacie Bell, PhD, emphasizes the importance of collaborative or multidisciplinary care in patients with SLE.

In an interview with HCPLive, Stacie Bell, PhD, executive vice president of Lupus Therapeutics, the clinical research affiliate of the Lupus Research Alliance, discusses the results of a qualitative framework study assessing the effects of cognitive impairment on activities of daily living, as well as life role participation, in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).1
Recently, there's been increased attention on the neuropsychiatric aspects of lupus, particularly its impact on functioning. People living with lupus often mention experiencing “brain fog” and discuss how the disease affects their ability to work or engage with family and friends. Results of the study strongly indicate a prevalence of cognitive impairment among many individuals with lupus.

Findings also reinforce the notion that cognitive impairment is a significant aspect of the lupus experience and highlights the various coping strategies individuals employ to manage cognitive challenges and the potential for adaptive coping strategies when working with their providers. Bell emphasized the importance of collaborative or multidisciplinary care in this patient population. More providers are recognizing this need, fostering collaborations between departments or specialists to support these patients comprehensively. Specialists like mental health professionals, occupational therapists, career coaches, or behavioral counselors can significantly enhance the care provided to individuals with cognitive impairment due to lupus.

This study underscores that individuals living with lupus face numerous challenges, including potential cognitive impairment and highlights the importance of openly discussing these concerns with healthcare providers to ensure appropriate care. Bell explained recognizing and addressing these challenges, whether in academic, work, or personal life situations, is crucial in supporting patients living with lupus.


  1. Barraclough M, Howe A, Soberanis A, Kakvan M, et al. The Effects of Systematic Lupus Erythematosus Related Cognitive Impairments on Activities of Daily Living and Life Role Participation: A Qualitative Framework Study. Presented at: American College of Rheumatology Convergence 2023. San Diego, CA. November 10-15, 2023.