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Researchers show Speed of Processing Training effective in multiple sclerosis

In a recent pilot study researchers highlighted the importance of processing speed in overall cognitive function in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) and their performance of everyday life activities.

The study, published in Frontiers in Neurology, tested Speed of Processing Training (SPT) in individuals with MS. SPT is a computerised treatment shown to result in persistent improvements in processing speed and everyday function in older adults.

There were 21 participants in this randomised controlled trial, 12 in the treatment group and nine in the control group. The treatment group underwent 10 computerised training sessions over five weeks; controls had no treatment. The treatment group showed significant gains on neuropsychological tests of processing speed, new learning and memory, and activities of daily life.

"These results indicate that processing speed is fundamental to higher order cognitive function in individuals with MS," said Dr Chiaravalloti, the Foundation's director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, and Traumatic Brain Injury Research. "Looking at the impact of cognitive interventions on neuropsychological measures isn't enough, however. The outcomes of our research studies need to include the effects of cognitive rehabilitation protocols on how people perform in their daily lives."

"Developing a cognitive rehabilitation protocol for treating deficits in processing speed is a priority," summarised Dr Chiaravalloti. "Reaching that goal means improving the lives of individuals and easing the burdens of caregivers. This study is an important first step toward that goal."

Source: MS-UK 19/19/18

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