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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

At-Home ‘Brain Training’ Program for MS Patients Reported to Improve Cognitive Skills by 29%


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Multiple sclerosis patients using a cognitive remediation computer training program, part of a controlled trial by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center, had greater improvements in cognitive function than those who used a placebo-training program, according to a presentation at the recent American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.
Problems in attention, memory, verbal fluency, and information processing can be common in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), with difficulties reported in finding the right words and keeping up in conversations, or trouble remembering routines at home or work. According to the researchers, these problems are thought to be associated with volume loss and atrophy in the brain’s grey matter.
Cognitive remediation training programs, while seen to be of benefit, are often inconvenient, requiring at least weekly in-person sessions at clinics.
Researchers tested the efficacy of an at-home cognitive remediation treatment program in a group of 135 MS patients with cognitive deficits. Participants were randomly assigned to either a computerized program called Posit Science’s Brain HQ (71 patients), consisting of a series of games and tasks, or to a placebo program with common computer games (64 patients). People in both groups trained one hour a day, five days a week, for a total  of 12 weeks.
Results revealed that patients assigned to the Brain HQ program had a 29 percent improvement on neuropsychological tests, compared to a 15 percent improvement in those using the placebo program.

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