Processing speed and working memory training in multiple sclerosis: A blinded randomized controlled trial

by Hancock, Laura Mitchell, Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - KANSAS CITY, 2013, 93 pages; 3567805


Between 40-65% of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience cognitive deficits associated with the disease. The two most common areas affected are information processing speed and working memory. Information processing speed has been posited as a core cognitive deficit in MS, and working memory has been shown to impact performance on a wide variety of domains for MS patients. Currently, clinicians have few reliable options for addressing cognitive deficits in MS. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of computerized, home-based cognitive training focused specifically on improving information processing speed and working memory for MS patients. Participants were recruited and randomized into either the Active Training or Sham Training group, tested with a neurocognitive battery at baseline, completed six weeks of training, and then were again tested with a neurocognitive battery at follow-up. After correcting for multiple comparisons, results indicated that the Active Training group scored higher on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (a test of information processing speed and attention) following cognitive training, and data trended toward significance on the Controlled Oral Word Associations Task (a test of executive functioning), Letter Number Sequencing (a test of working memory), Brief Visuospatial Memory Test (a test of visual memory), and the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test (a test of attention). Results provide preliminary evidence that cognitive training with MS patients may produce moderate improvement in select areas of cognitive functioning. Follow-up studies with larger samples should be conducted to determine whether these results can be replicated, and also to determine the functional outcome of improvements on neurocognitive tests.

AdviserJared M. Bruce
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsPsychology; Cognitive psychology
Publication Number3567805

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