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Kessler Foundation scientists receive Consortium of MS Centers grant to study emotional processing

West Orange, NJ. March 27, 2013. Helen Genova, PhD, and Jean Lengenfelder, PhD, were awarded a $40,000 grant to study disorders of emotional processing in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The one-year study, funded by The Consortium of MS Centers, is titled "Remediation of emotional processing deficits in MS: A pilot study." Dr. Genova is a research scientist in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research and Dr. Lengenfelder is assistant director of Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation.

"This is one of the first studies to address emotional processing deficits in MS," noted Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience & TBI Research at Kessler Foundation. "The program being tested is an emotional processing training program that has been successful in both autism and schizophrenia. Our scientists will examine its effects on emotional processing abilities, as well as on mood, cognitive processing, and quality of life."

Recent evidence suggests that a significant number of individuals with MS have difficulty in emotional processing. "Specifically, individuals with MS may have difficulty correctly identifying emotions from facial expressions," explained Dr. Genova. "Because deficits in emotional processing can have a significant negative impact on social interactions and quality of life, finding ways to treat these deficits is critical to improving the lives of individuals with MS."

Drs. Genova and Lengenfelder work closely with Dr. Chiaravalloti and John DeLuca, PhD, VP for Research and Training at Kessler Foundation, both of whom are experts in cognitive rehabilitation research in MS and traumatic brain injury. Drs. Genova, Lengenfelder, DeLuca and Chiaravalloti have faculty appointments in the department of physical medicine & rehabilitation at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

Contact: Carolann Murphy
Kessler Foundation

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