Computerized program improves processing speed in people with MS, in new study funded by National MS Society
May 17, 2022
A study testing a computer program was found to improve information processing speed in a group of people with MS, and the benefits were maintained six months later. If confirmed in further studies, this effort could offer up a pathway to helping to restore cognitive function in people with MS. The researchers from the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, NJ, were funded by a research grant from the National MS Society.
- Background: People with MS may experience cognitive problems, including reductions in processing speed, which is the time required to mentally process and react to information in one’s environment. Reduced processing speed can affect work and social activities. A treatment program known as Speed of Processing Training (SOPT) has been shown to improve processing speed in older adults. SOPT is a computer program that involves repeated practice of tasks addressing processing speed and attention, which gradually increase in difficulty.
- Study Details: Kessler researchers randomly assigned 71 people with MS who had reduced processing speed to complete SOPT or a control program involving no training. One-hour sessions were completed twice a week for 10 weeks. The primary outcome measured was change in processing speed, which was assessed before and after the program, and six months later.
- Results: Of 71 participants included in the final analysis, 37 were in the treatment group and 34 in the control group. Processing speed improved significantly more in the group who received the SOPT training than in those using the control program. Participants who completed more difficulty levels showed greater benefits. The benefit was maintained at six months.
Future research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of SOPT in people with different subtypes of MS, including progressive MS.
Listen to RealTalk MS podcasts on Getting that Cognitive Assessment
and Managing Your Cognitive Health in MS
“The efficacy of speed of processing training for improving processing speed in individuals with multiple sclerosis: a randomized clinical trial
” by Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, Silvana L. Costa, Nancy B. Moore, Kristen Costanza & John DeLuca is published in Journal of Neurology
(Published: 12 February 2022).