cognitive impairment

We Have to Make the Effort to Care

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) is hard. I know this is hardly a revelation, especially to those of us who struggle with it on the daily, but I felt like it needed to be said. I was scanning through articles on this site recently, seeing what my fellow…

Survey Results Show Impact of MS in All Aspects of Life

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects all aspects of life, from physical and mental health to relationships, and from work and finances to hobbies and holidays, according to results from an online survey conducted by the U.K.’s MS Trust. Most respondents said they wanted more support to manage their fatigue, improve…

Cognitive Rehab ‘Effective, Low-risk’ in Treating Difficulties Due to MS

Cognitive rehabilitation is an effective therapy for cognitive problems brought on by multiple sclerosis (MS), a review study highlights. “Clinicians should consider this low-cost, low-risk, yet effective treatment approach for their patients,” its researchers wrote. The study, “Neurological update: cognitive rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis,” was published…

MS-Specific Cognitive Rehabilitation Tool Shows Promise in Pilot Study

A multiple sclerosis (MS)-specific computerized cognitive rehabilitation (CR) program led to significant improvements in mental skills among MS patients participating in a recent pilot study. These findings suggest that those with MS, and likely other disorders, might gain the greatest benefits from tailored cognitive tests that are specifically adapted…

Software Platform May Allow for Automated MS Cognitive Testing

A software platform, called CogniSoft, allows for automated assessments of cognitive health in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The platform was described in the study “CogniSoft: A Platform for the Automation of Cognitive Assessment and Rehabilitation of Multiple Sclerosis,” published in the journal Computers. Cognitive impairment…

More Research Needed Into How Exercise, Rehab Aid Cognition in MS

Cognitive problems are common in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) but inadequately addressed by disease-modifying therapies, while cognitive rehabilitation and exercise training programs can be effective, a review study reported.  Research studies of exercise programs need to include larger groups of patients with demonstrated cognitive difficulties, however, and more pharmacological…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Cognitive Impairment, Genetic Variant Risk Factor, Protein Biomarkers, Gilenya Study

Higher Intellectual Ability, Early-life Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Impairment in MS, Study Suggests The finding that physical activity provides a protective effect for cognitive abilities makes sense to me. I recently listened to a webinar discussing brain atrophy, which has a direct relationship with cognitive impairment, and…

Higher Intellectual Ability, Early-life Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Impairment in MS, Study Suggests

Higher intellectual ability and physical activity during childhood and adolescence may help protect against the development of cognitive impairment in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an Italian study suggests. These findings, though preliminary, suggest that intellectual enrichment and early-life physical activity may reduce the likelihood of developing cognitive deficits…

Need to Know: What Exactly Is Cognition?

Editor’s note: “Need to Know” is a series inspired by common forum questions and comments from readers. Have a comment or question about MS? Visit our forum. This week’s question is inspired by the forum topic “What do you do to help strengthen your cognitive abilities?” from…

Cognitive Impairment Worse Among PPMS Than RRMS Patients, German Study Finds

Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis have more severe cognitive impairment than those with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, according to a German study that analyzed published data on the topic. PPMS patients did especially poorly on verbal learning and verbal memory tests, said the study, which suggested that PPMS patients need disease management that specifically focuses on their cognitive difficulties, which do not necessarily correlate with the degree of overall disability. The study gathered data from 47 previously published studies in an attempt to analyze potential differences in cognitive performance between patients with RRMS and PPMS. These studies included 4,460 patients — 3,456 with RRMS and 1,004 with PPMS — and plenty of information about patient and disease features. This allowed researchers to perform a meta-analysis of pooled data from various studies, that is considered the highest level of scientific evidence. Researchers noted that PPMS patients performed worse on cognitive tests, both when considering global scores and tests of specific cognitive domains. Yet both groups scored similarly in levels of anxiety, depression and fatigue. Using statistical analyses, the research team found that differences in sex, education, disease duration, manual dexterity and fatigue could not explain the poorer test results among PPMS patients. On the other hand, PPMS patients were, on average, older than those with relapsing disease, and the team found that this difference accounted for poorer test results in cognitive tests of processing speed and working memory. Yet differences in other cognitive aspects also remained when researchers took age into account. Differences in disability, measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale, could also not explain why PPMS patients performed worse on the cognitive tests. A detailed look revealed that the largest differences between RRMS and PPMS patients were in verbal learning and verbal memory, along with the age-associated difference in processing speed. Depression and anxiety also brought down processing speed, researchers said, even though the two groups did not differ in their levels of anxiety and depression. The data shows that cognitive impairment in MS is not directly related to the course of the disease. Research may explain differences in other factors including genetics, the degree of brain tissue loss and medications.

Computer-assisted Therapy Found to Benefit MS Patients with Cognitive Difficulties

Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who are showing signs of cognitive impairment may benefit from computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation programs, according to a new study. Difficulties with short-term memory, or with processing information and concentrating, are believed to affect 40% to 65% of MS patients. Studies have suggested that cognitive rehabilitation may help, and that computer-assisted therapy used…