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Current Funded Research > New Jersey


Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, PhD

Kessler Medical Rehabilitation
Research and Education Corp.

West Orange, NJ

Region: Greater North Jersey Chapter

Award: Research Grant

Term/Amount: 4/1/04-3/31/08; $428,372


“Working memory in MS: Using fMRI to identify the deficit Correlating memory difficulties with brain activity to understand how to overcome such difficulties in MS.


Many people with MS report difficulties with attention, concentration, and memory. Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, PhD, and colleagues have shown that deficits in “working memory” may be the source of some cognitive difficulties. Working memory refers to the ability to hold and manipulate information in the brain (e.g., add numbers without writing them down).


Now, Dr. Chiaravalloti's team is seeking to identify more precisely how working memory may be impaired in some people with MS. Working memory involves two processes: holding information in the brain and manipulating this information.


The investigation involves 20 people with MS who have an impairment in working memory; 20 people with MS without working memory impairment; and 20 people without MS. Participants are undergoing neuropsychological assessment and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI allows researchers to take active images of the brain while it is performing working memory tasks that require either maintaining or manipulating information. The patterns of activation between the groups will be compared to identify specific sites in the brain responsible for working memory deficits in MS.

Results of this study will help us to better understand the source of working memory deficits in people with MS, and improve our ability to track changes in working memory, especially as a result of treatment.