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Kessler Foundation scientists awarded grants to study cognition in MS
Date:11/8/2011

West Orange, NJ. Nov. 8, 2011. Two neuropsychologists at Kessler Foundation Research Center were awarded more than $100,000 in grants by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, received $63,000 to conduct a pilot study, "Speed of Processing Training for Improving Processing Speed in Persons with MS". It is well recognized that individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) have significant impairments in processing speed. Impairments in processing may underlie other cognitive deficits common in MS, as well as contribute to difficulties performing daily activities. This small clinical trial will evaluate a treatment for improving processing speed in 20 people with MS. This computer-based treatment has been shown to be effective in an aging population. The outcome in participants with MS will be measured by performance on neuropsychological tests, as well as activities of daily living. Dr. Chiaravalloti, an expert in cognitive function in MS, is director of Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation.

Helen Genova, PhD, was awarded $44,000 to conduct a pilot study on the use of diffuser tensor imaging (DTI) to correlate damage to white matter with cognitive decline. Progressive cognitive decline in MS is a significant factor in early retirement and reduced quality of life. Correlation between neuropathology and cognitive decline has been inconsistent, however, most likely due to limitations of conventional imaging techniques such as MRI. DTI has been shown to be a more sensitive method of measuring white matter damage and may provide images that better correlate with cognitive dysfunction. This research may contribute to a better understanding of the clinical course of MS and more effective strategies for maintaining cognitive function and preserving quality of life. Dr. Genova is a research scientist in the Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Laboratory.


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Contact: Carolann Murphy
cmurphy@kesslerfoundation.org
973-324-8382
Kessler Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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