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How does planning, organisation and memory affect the employment performance of people with MS?

Employment is a major challenge for many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and 50% are unemployed across Europe, even at Expanded Disability Scale Score (EDSS) 3. It is likely that “invisible symptoms” are the reason for this and one of these invisible difficulties can be with memory and concentration – cognition.

Dawn Langdon, Professor of Neuropsychology at Royal Holloway, University of London and her research team are asking for your help. They are recruiting for a study which will investigate how planning, organisation and memory (together called executive skills) affect work performance.

Traditionally, cognitive function is assessed in clinics with paper-and-pencil tasks. Her team are evaluating a non-immersive virtual reality task, which is set in an office. The Jansari Assessment of Executive Function (JEF) has successfully measured executive function in other clinical groups and this is the first study with people with MS.

The study is recruiting 53 people with MS from a number of UK MS charities and 53 matched healthy control participants. Each will complete a set of questionnaires measuring fatigue, mood, cognition, work performance and coping, as well as the JEF. This will require a scheduled interview in central London, which will take a maximum of two hours.

This study will investigate three things: whether the JEF is sensitive to executive function difficulties in the MS population, whether the JEF is more closely related to work place performance in comparison to traditional pen-and-paper neuropsychological tests, and whether the JEF scores are related to coping styles.

The Principal Investigator is Laura Clemens, a graduate psychologist who is currently training to become a clinical psychologist at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is supervised by Dawn Langdon, who is a clinical neuropsychologist and Professor of Neuropsychology at the same institution. The study has ethical approval from the Royal Holloway Ethics’ Committee.

If you would like more information, please contact Dawn Langdon on 01784 443956 or email d.langdon@rhul.ac.uk.

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