Restoring cognition in multiple sclerosis

May 06, 2013

Cognitive dysfunction is common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and can be present from initial diagnosis through late stages of the disease.  The most common issues are problems with:

  • Attention

  • Information processing (thinking)

  • Learning and memory

Recent papers have looked into which rehabilitative strategies would most help these issues.  A new study published in the journal Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair shows how one specific intervention could improve or restore impaired attention functions in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who experienced major attention deficits. 

Researchers in Cantanzaro, Italy tested the cognitive performance of 12 people with RRMS over the course of six weeks. Cognitive training was performed using the software RehaCom, a common cognitive rehab tool online used in Europe.

Researchers looked at brain scans and neuropsychological performance tests to examine the effects of their cognitive rehabilitation approach. The experimental group met twice per week for 1-hour sessions of computer-assisted training of several attention ability and information processing tasks.

Researchers found that the group who underwent cognitive rehabilitation with RehaCom had improved attention. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) also revealed the presence of a functional reorganization in specific brain regions.

This research highlights that cognitive computer rehabilitation is a promising tool for improving attention issues in MS.

To learn more about MS and research studies happening locally, visit www.swedish.org/MS.