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Society-Funded Researchers Assess Cognitive Changes Remotely, and Successfully

July 20, 2020

A team partly funded by the National MS Society reports that a web-based assessment of cognitive function was able to detect impairments similarly to in-person testing. Applying this method may help to increase cognitive screening, and alert physicians to problems before clinic visits. Such possibilities take on new importance with telehealth increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More than half of all people with MS will develop problems with cognition. Certain functions are more likely to be affected than others, including information processing and memory. Despite this, cognitive function is not routinely evaluated or optimally treated. It is one of the major unmet needs in MS care.
  • This team has developed a technician-guided, web-based tool to measure memory and processing speed remotely. In this study of 100 people with MS, one group completed in-person tests followed by the remote assessment, while the other completed remote testing, followed by in-person assessment.
  • Take a closer look at screening for cognitive function problems in MS. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about cognitive dysfunction. 
“A validation study for remote testing of cognitive function in multiple sclerosis” by Lisa Barcellos, PhD, MPH, and colleagues at University of California Berkeley was published online July 14 in the MS Journal.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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