MS researchers find task meaningfulness influences learning and memory

Kessler Foundation researchers have found that among persons with multiple sclerosis, self-generation may be influenced by variables such as task meaningfulness during learning and memory. They also found that type of task (functional versus laboratory) had a significant effect on memory.

This is the first controlled investigation of therapeutic and patient-specific factors that supports the inclusion of self-generation in . The study was published in the January issue of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: An International Journal. (Yael Goverover, Nancy D. Chiaravalloti & John DeLuca: Task meaningfulness and degree of : Do they affect self-generated learning in persons with ? http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2013.868815). Yael Goverover, PhD, OT, is a Visiting Scientist at Kessler Foundation. She is an associate professor at New York University. Dr. Goverover is a recipient of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Fellowship award (Mary Switzer Award).

The researchers studied two groups: 35 persons with MS who had moderate to severe learning and impairments (SEVERE-MS), and 35 persons with little to no impairment (MILD-MS). All the participants learned two types of tasks (functional everyday tasks and laboratory tasks), each in two learning conditions (Provided and Generated). Participants were required to recall the information immediately, 30 minutes, and 1 week following initial learning.

Significantly more words were recalled from the generated condition, a finding that was consistent for both SEVERE-MS and MILD-MS. Also, self-generated learning was more effective for recall of functional vs laboratory tasks, a finding consistent in both groups.

These results have implications for the design of effective strategies for cognitive rehabilitation in MS, according to Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of Neuropsychology & Neuroscience research at Kessler Foundation. "A self-generation strategy can significantly improve learning and memory on tasks that are important for persons in their everyday lives," said Dr. Chiaravalloti, "which is an important objective of cognitive rehabilitation. This study brings us closer to developing effective treatment for memory and impairments in individuals with MS, and consequently improving their quality of life."

Related Stories

MS researchers study predictors of employment status

date Jan 31, 2014

Researchers at Kessler Foundation have studied the measurement tools used in multiple sclerosis for their effectiveness in predicting employment status. They compared the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), the Multiple ...

Researchers study impact of head movement on fMRI data

date Feb 19, 2014

Kessler Foundation researchers have shown that discarding data from subjects with multiple sclerosis (MS) who exhibit head movement during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may bias sampling away from subjects ...

Recommended for you

Men and women could use different cells to process pain

date 4 hours ago

We have known for some time that there are sex differences when it comes to experiencing pain, with women showing a higher sensitivity to painful events compared to men. While we don't really understand w ...

Pupillary reflex enhanced by light inside blind spot

date 6 hours ago

University of Tokyo researchers have found that the light reflex of the pupil is modulated by light stimulation inside the blind spot in normal human observers, even though that light is not perceived.

How your brain knows it's summer

date 21 hours ago

Researchers led by Toru Takumi at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a key mechanism underlying how animals keep track of the seasons. The study, published in Proceedings of the Na ...

His and her pain circuitry in the spinal cord

date Jun 29, 2015

New research released today in Nature Neuroscience reveals for the first time that pain is processed in male and female mice using different cells. These findings have far-reaching implications for our ba ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.