Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, an expert in cognitive rehabilitation research, authored two commentaries on trends in multiple sclerosis (MS) research. Dr. Chiaravalloti is director of Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation. She was recently appointed director of Traumatic Brain Injury Research at the Foundation and also is principal investigator of the Northern New Jersey TBI System, a NIDRR-funded model system. Dr. Chiaravalloti is also an associate professor at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.
Her editorial, "Applying functional MRI to the study of cognitive rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis" was published in the June issue of Imaging in Medicine (2012;4:267-9) According to Dr. Chiaravalloti, neuroimaging with fMRI offers an objective method of documenting changes in cerebral activation with cognitive rehabilitation. This approach is yielding promising findings that may support the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with MS. Ongoing research requires the collaboration of scientists and clinicians knowledgeable in both cognitive rehabilitation and neuroimaging techniques.
The second editorial "Could behavioral therapies target specific deficits in multiple sclerosis patients?" appeared in Expert Reviews of Neurotherapeutics (2012;12:755-7). Although cognitive impairments affect 40 to 70% of people with MS, research in cognitive rehabilitation research has been limited. Existing research indicates that the deficits in new learning, memory and processing speed that prevail in this population may respond to behavioral interventions.
Dr. Chiaravalloti's editorials were based on her research funded by an RO1 and Competitive Supplement (Improving Learning in MS: A Randomized Clinical Trial) from the NIH (NCMRR; grant 1R01HD045798 and HD045798S).