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Poster D18

Cognitive Training Improves Working Memory, Processing Speed, and Neural Efficiency in Multiple Sclerosis

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Ryan O'Donnell1,2 (, Janet Shucard1,2, Thomas Covey1,2, David Shucard1,2; 1Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences, Department of Neurology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, 2Neuroscience Program, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system featuring multifocal white matter lesions. Working memory (WM) and processing speed (PS) deficits are among the most prevalent cognitive disturbances in MS, and cognitive rehabilitation may serve to improve lost function. The present study investigated performance measures obtained before and after training on either a letter n-back WM or Visual Search PS task in MS. Three MS groups were included in the study: an n-back (WM) training group (N = 14), a visual search (PS) training group (N = 14), and a no-contact control group (N = 15). WM and PS were measured through the administration of 2-back and 4x4 letter array Visual Search (VS) tasks, respectively, before and after a 4-5 week at-home adaptive training procedure. Behavioral measures, including accuracy and reaction time (RT), were obtained along with dense electrode array electroencephalographic (EEG) measures during the 2-back and VS tasks. The findings for the behavioral measures indicated that both the WM and VS training groups showed significant improvement on RT and RT variability from pre- to post-test on their specific training tasks. Importantly, indices of PS variability (purported markers of neural efficiency) provided unique information related to training effects and signified improved neural efficiency after training. Some transfer of training was found for both the n-back and VS groups. These results show the potential benefits of cognitive rehabilitation in MS, and highlight PS and surrogate behavioral markers of neural efficiency associated with each training domain.

Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory


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