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Poster F2

Neural indices of multisensory processing disturbances in people with multiple sclerosis

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Thomas Covey1 (, Hope Nyarady2, Marissa Tripoli3, Ryan O'Donnell4, Ralph Benedict5, Bianca Weinstock-Guttman6, David Shucard7; 1University at Buffalo

People with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) commonly experience cognitive disturbances that negatively impact daily functioning. However, while cognitive dysfunction is often recognized in MS, multisensory processing has been largely understudied. Multisensory processing warrants further investigation in MS, as day-to-day experiences often necessitate attentional control over simultaneous auditory and visual information. To address this gap in knowledge, PwMS and healthy control participants completed a multisensory (audio-visual) processing paradigm in which target and non-target stimuli consisted of visual stimuli (blue/red circles) and/or auditory stimuli (high or low tones). On some trials, auditory and visual stimuli were presented in isolation (unimodal), whereas on other trials, both auditory and visual stimuli were presented simultaneously, eliciting multisensory processing. Ongoing electroencephalographic (EEG) data were obtained during task performance, and the event-related potential (ERP) was derived for different trial categories. On average, PwMS tended to have delayed response speed across all trial types in comparison to the control group, and these differences tended to be most pronounced during unimodal trials (auditory or visual stimulus only). During multisensory target trials (auditory and visual targets presented simultaneously) PwMS demonstrated attenuation of ERP amplitude compared to the control group at 100 msec after stimulus onset for anterior midline electrodes, and at 300-500 msec post-stimulus for posterior midline electrodes, suggesting disturbances in selective attention and stimulus categorization, respectively, during multisensory processing. The findings demonstrate that MS neuropathology can impact multisensory integration, and that this aspect of cognition warrants further investigation to address the full spectrum of disturbances experienced by PwMS.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Multisensory


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April 13–16  |  2024