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Videogame Improves Cognition in People with MS

July 21, 2020

Treatment with an interactive videogame for six weeks improved thinking (processing) speed significantly in a trial involving 44 people with MS and mild or moderate disability. Improvements were maintained by most participants eight weeks later. A comparison group using a computerized word game also improved in processing speed, but improvements were less significant and were not maintained by most individuals. A larger clinical trial is planned, based on these positive results.
  • Changes in cognitive function are common in MS. Cognition refers to a range of high-level brain functions including information processing (dealing with information gathered by the five senses), processing speed, and memory (acquiring, retaining and retrieving new information).
  • AKL-T03, the videogame intervention tested in this study, is an investigational software that engages individuals in sensory and motor tasks. The game automatically adjusts for a personalized treatment experience tailored to each individual. The game used as a control (AKL-T09) involves connecting letters on a grid to spell as many words as possible.
  • The interventions used in this study were developed by Akili Interactive Labs, Inc. In June, Akili’s EndeavorTM became the first game-based therapeutic granted marketing authorization by the FDA for any type of condition, when it was approved to increase attention in children with ADHD. Endeavor is being tested in a small study in children with MS, to determine if it can treat cognitive impairments.
  • This research was supported by an unrestricted grant from Akili Interactive, and the company provided the games without charge for the study. 
“A novel in-home digital treatment to improve processing speed in people with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study” by Riley Bove, MD (University of California, San Francisco) and colleagues, was published June 25, 2020 in the MS Journal.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. 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. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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