Posted on Mar 14, 2012, 6 a.m.
Among people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a 3-month long program of computer-based cognitive training activated the areas of the brain involved in the performance of complex tasks.
Affecting over 2.5 million people worldwide, multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder in which the myelin sheath encasing the nerve fibers of the central nervous system, is destroyed – resulting in damage to the nerve cells themselves and leading to permanent loss of function. Massimo Filippi, from Vita-Salute University (Italy), and colleagues, enrolled 20 women with relapsing-remitting MS, who received either 12 weeks of computer-based cognitive training focusing on information processing, attention, and executive function, or served as controls. Testing for effects on these domains by using the Stroop test during functional MRI, the team observed an increased activation of the prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex, areas of the brain involved in the performance of complex tasks, among those subjects who received the computer training. Observing that: “after 12 weeks of cognitive rehabilitation, compared with the control group, the treated group experienced a change of recruitment of several brain regions,” the study authors conclude that: “Rehabilitation of attention and information processing and executive functions in [relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis] may be effected through enhanced recruitment of brain networks subserving the trained functions.”
Massimo Filippi, Gianna Riccitelli, Flavia Mattioli, Ruggero Capra, Chiara Stampatori, Elisabetta Pagani,et al. “Multiple Sclerosis: Effects of Cognitive Rehabilitation on Structural and Functional MR Imaging Measures—An Explorative Study.” Radiology, March 2012, 262:3, 932-940.