CogniFit's Science blog: Multiple Sclerosis And Cognitive Training: You Are Fatigued But You Can Do It!

Multiple Sclerosis And Cognitive Training: You Are Fatigued But You Can Do It!

Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) might be experiencing some of the cognitive decline that occasionally affects people with this condition.

Perhaps it is difficult to remember details and specifics about important events in life. Perhaps it is harder to concentrate and pay attention as well as we used to and perhaps planning future actions have become a challenging task. Some people with multiple sclerosis also experience a decline in when using language, for example in learning new words and forming new concepts.

Research tells us that multiple sclerosis patients with cognitive decline lead a different life from those who display no such decline. People with MS, who experience cognitive decline, gradually participate in fewer social activities. In general they require more personal assistance and assistance with household chores.

So, if you have multiple sclerosis you might (justly) be thinking of the prevention of cognitive decline or rehabilitation of cognitive function in order to safeguard or reinstate your quality of life and your autonomy. Would cognitive training assist you in achieving such an important goal? Science suggests that the answer is YES.

A study conducted by Prof. Ariel Miller and published in 2010 in the peer-reviewed journal NeuroRehabilitation, recounts the story of two groups of patients with MS. One group received standard care and trained three times a week for 12 weeks using CogniFit and the second group received standard care only. Both groups were evaluated with a standard neuropsychological examination at the beginning of the study, and, 12 weeks later, at the end of the study.

Despite the significant fatigue associated with MS, 71.2% of the study participants in the cognitive training group adhered to the training schedule. At the end of the study these participants were displaying better memory skills in a wide range of domains. They remembered visual displays better, they held more information in short-term and in working memory and remembered more information after time elapsed than their peers who had not trained cognitive function. These trainees had become faster and more fluent in finding and learning words. They had also become more focused and could hold their attention for a longer period of time.

In the NeuroRehabilitation article the authors suggested that these positive results were obtained due to the highly individualized approach to cognitive care in the program used: CogniFit uses a baseline cognitive evaluation to individualize training; continually adapts the difficulty level to the subject’s performance using an interactive-adaptive system and provides detailed graphic and verbal feedback after each training session.

The cognitive improvements reported in the article are especially important because they are specific to MS and testify that cognitive function can improve significantly even in patients who have experienced the condition for a very long time. They also show that cognitive training can be carried out despite very high levels of fatigue. Most importantly, they show that the goal of preserving and enhancing cognitive function can be achieved. It is just a click away.