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Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenges (book)


by Nicholas LaRocca, PhD and Rosalind Kalb, PhD

Publisher: Demos Medical Publishing, 2006


Despite the prevalence of disabling cognitive symptoms among people living with multiple sclerosis, there is a dearth of literature on this important topic. Multiple Sclerosis:Understanding the Cognitive Challenges is the first comprehensive discussion of MS-related cognitive dysfunction, including the changes that can occur, their assessment and treatment, and strategies for dealing with their impact in daily life.

Written by two clinical psychologists with special expertise in MS, and with contributions by two leading neuropsychologists, the book answers the questions patients may have about their condition, including:

  • A definition of cognition and discussion of the processes that underlie human thought
  • The emotional and social impact of cognitive changes
  • The neuropsychological evaluation of cognitive symptoms
  • Detailed overview of treatment options
  • Vignettes describing the real-life experiences of a person with cognitive dysfunction
  • Extensive references to the scientific literature

Combining detailed, referenced advice with hands-on strategies for living, this is the only book to provide in-depth information about cognitive dysfunction. It will be an invaluable reference to patients, families and caregivers, as well as health professionals who care for people with MS.

Order through Demos Health Publishing.


by Bernice Schacter, PhD for InsideMS, October 2006

Directed at patients, families, caregivers, and health-care professionals, Understanding the Cognitive Challenges first explores how the brain thinks and how thinking can be derailed by MS. The authors describe how cognitive changes are measured by neuropsychologists. They briefly discuss the limited data on the effectiveness of MS disease-modifying treatments, symptom management drugs, and rehabilitation on cognitive impairment.

The balance of the book provides concrete and easily applied strategies for managing the challenges. These strategies are neither cures nor treatments, but ways to compensate.

Strategies are outlined for specific problems—for example, forgetting what you went to the grocery store to buy. The authors work through several options, identifying different solutions that might work for different people.

The book also includes a series of vignettes about people with MS in situations made difficult by cognitive issues. These vignettes not only provide solutions that real people have found successful, but also highlight the emotional and social havoc cognitive changes in MS can cause.

Bernice Schacter, PhD is a biomedical consultant and author of The New Medicines: How Drugs Are Created, Approved, Marketed, and Sold (Praeger, 2006). She has been living with MS since 1991.

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