Kessler Foundation Study Says Cognitive Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis Depends on Task Length

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A study from a team of researchers at the Kessler Foundation provides new findings on multiple sclerosis (MS). According to the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology, cognitive fatigue exhibited by MS patients is related to the length of the task they are involved in.

Fatigue is one of the most reported symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with a prevalence estimation ranging from 70 to 90%. Cognitive fatigue can be a result of both cognitive and physical exertion, and usually presents as subjective sensations or objective changes in performance, fatigue, and fatigability.

Treating cognitive fatigue clinically is complicated because there is a poor understanding of the factors contributing to this combination of symptoms.

In their study titled “Subjective cognitive fatigue in MS depends on task length,” Joshua Sandry from the Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research, Kessler Foundation, and colleagues examined the relationships between subjective and objective cognitive fatigue, information processing domain (PS), working memory (WM) cognitive load and time on a task in 32 patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The results were compared with 24 healthy controls.

Data analysis showed that subjective cognitive fatigue was higher for the PS task, increased across time, and was higher in the MS group compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, the results revealed that subjective and objective fatigue were independent variables. Morevoer, subjective cognitive fatigue increased with the length of time spent on a task, strongly suggesting that cognitive fatigue in MS is a function of time.

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The researchers indicate that this new understanding may help to inform future research studies and help clinicians conduct evaluations of cognitive fatigue in MS. This can ultimately lead to better treatment strategies to cognitive fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis.

Concerning these results, lead author Dr. Joshua Sandry said in a recent press release, “In our study, task length was the factor associated with subjective cognitive fatigue,” “which supports the hypothesis of Temporal Fatigue. This finding should be considered when designing cognitive studies in MS populations. More research is needed to look at these parameters in people with different types of MS, different levels of cognitive impairment and in more advanced stages.”

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Daniela holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, a MSc in Health Psychology and a BSc in Clinical Psychology. Her work has been focused on vulnerability to psychopathology and early identification and intervention in psychosis.
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  1. Micheal Springer says:

    When considering cognitive fatigue in MS patients you must also include cognitive impairment as a measurable, independent variable at the same time. The duration and intensity of a task will cause both cognitive fatigue and our cognitive impairment to worsen. Although our cognitive fatigue will improve with rest, our cognitive impairment continues to trend downward year by year.

  2. Maria Sarullo Wieand says:

    I have been battling this issue for over 14 years, I am overwhelmed when I am on a project that involves intense timing and thought processing. I’ve been out of work since 9/2/14, and I’m trying to go back to work because my neurologist said I can. I’m so afraid I will have another exacerbation from the fatigue caused by the mental stress of working. Just moved to Florida to relocate and neither my husband or I can find work.

    • Allan C Ardis says:

      I developed progressive multiple sclerosis and it brought a quick end to a successful career. My profile is posted on Linked In. I had a successful career. I live in Florida. In recent months, I have helped several people get their career re-launched and they found jobs. I may be able to help you, too, with some suggestions. What kind of work are you looking for?

  3. Reg Bavis says:

    I have had M S since 1995 , Isuffer with fatigue and balance I was digonized with secondary progressive in 95 then primary in T O I do a lot of exercise which seems to help , I also suffer with explaining things ,and my speech , I presently live in a retirment home in Toronto Ontario .

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