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Mind and Emotions

MS and Cognition

Although it is among the more common symptoms of MS, cognitive dysfunction has suffered from neglect until relatively recently. It is only in the last two decades that researchers and health care providers have begun to devote adequate attention to MS-related cognitive changes.

Much is now known about the nature of cognitive symptoms in MS and how these can best be evaluated. In addition, recent studies have addressed possible strategies for treating cognitive changes in MS.

General Information
 Cognitive Function
An overview of how MS may affect cognition

MS and the Mind (6-part brochure)

  • Devil of Denial (Part 6)
    MS-related cognitive problems can be hard to detect and even harder to admit
 Solving Cognitive Problems
The mind is the home of personality, emotions, and the intellect. MS has the potential to affect these brain functions, either directly or indirectly
Symptom Management
 Cognitive Retraining
Some rehabilitation centers have innovative programs designed to help people compensate for memory impairment
 Managing MS Through Rehabilitation
A rehabilitation professional will teach simple compensatory strategies, such as learning memory tricks, and keeping a “memory” notebook
On the Job
 On the Job with Fatigue and Cognitive Issues
Energy-saving techniques and cognitive strategies might change the equation.
 Loosening the Knots of Cognitive Problems
After persistent bouts with short-term memory loss, the author developed strategies that help him manage life— and remain employed.
Current Funded Research
 “A longitudinal study of mild cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis” (Lauren B. Krupp, MD) Following a group of individuals with MS who have mild cognitive problems to evaluate whether this symptom becomes worse over time
 “MS fellowship in neuropsychological rehabilitation” (John DeLuca, PhD) Training in ways to help people copy with cognitive problems associated with MS.
 “Impact of donepezil on cerebral activation and cognition in MS” (Christopher Christodoulou, PhD) Using novel imaging technology to determine whether a treatment under study for improving memory can affect patterns of brain activation.
 “Working memory in MS: Using fMRI to identify the deficit ” (Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, PhD) Correlating memory difficulties with brain activity to understand how to overcome such difficulties in MS.
 “Neural basis of short-term memory and cognitive control dysfunction in multiple sclerosis” (Feng Zhou, PhD) Understanding tissue damage that accompanies cognitive dysfunction in MS for clues to rehabilitating or preventing them.
 “Hippocampal volume loss in MS: clinical consequences” (Nancy L. Sicotte, MD) Exploring how brain tissue loss in specific regions relates to memory functions in MS.
 “Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in multiple sclerosis” (Murali Ramanathan, PhD) The possible role of a protein in susceptibility to cognitive deficits in persons with MS.
 “A comparison of stimulant medications for MS-related fatigue and cognitive problems” (Jeffery Wilken, PhD) Comparing treatments for improving fatigue in people with MS, and determining the effect of these therapies on cognitive function as well.
 “Relation of novel outcomes of vision and axonal loss to cognitive impairment in MS” (Jill Conway, MD) Investigating the relationship between cognitive dysfunction and nerve fiber loss in people with MS.
 “The neuropsychology of executive control: An fMRI and DTI study” (Glenn Wylie, PhD) Determining the effects of MS on certain aspects of cognitive function.
 “Improving learning and memory for functional activities in multiple sclerosis” (Yael Goverover, PhD) Testing techniques to optimize the learning of tasks in persons with MS who have cognitive impairment.
  MS may affect: memory, reasoning, word-finding, and concentration

About MS and Cognition

  • About 50% of people with MS develop some cognitive dysfunction.
  • The first signs of cognitive dysfunction may be subtle.
  • Often, the family becomes aware of the problem first.
  • Cognitive function can be affected by aging or medications.
  • Cognitive impairment may be the most significant factor in the high unemployment rate among people with MS.


webcast icon Webcasts
(transcript available)

MS Learn Online presents
Cognitive Dysfunction

Multiple Sclerosis International Federation MS in Focus

Multiple Sclerosis International Federation's new magazine

Issue 4: Special Focus on Emotions and Cognition (PDF)

Clinical Bulletins For Professionals

Print out the documents below and share it with your heathcare provider.
PDF format.

Cognitive Loss in Multiple Sclerosis

Assessment and Management of Cognitive Impairment in MS


Self-Help Options

You CAN...Remember
There are ways you can improve your memory

You CAN...Backup Your Memory
Supplement your memory with tools to enhance its efficiency and make you more effective



Facing the Cognitive Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis

Facing the Cognitive Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis
by Jeffrey N. Gingold

Read our review | Order through Demos Publishing*

Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenges

Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenges
by Nicholas LaRocca, PHD, and Rosalind Kalb, PHD
Read our review |
Order through Demos Publishing*

*All orders placed on Demos Publishing web site receive a 15% discount from list price.
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Last updated August 6, 2007