Researchers determine that brain reserve independently protects against cognitive decline in MS

June 25, 2013, Kessler Foundation

U.S. and Italian researchers have determined that brain reserve, as well as cognitive reserve, independently protects against cognitive decline in multiple sclerosis (MS). Their article, "Brain reserve and cognitive reserve in multiple sclerosis: What you've got and how you use it", was published in Neurology on June 11, 2013 (Neurology 2013;80:2186-2193). Authors James Sumowski, PhD, Victoria Leavitt, PhD, and John DeLuca, PhD, are with Kessler Foundation in West Orange, NJ. Maria Rocca, MD, Gianna Riccitelli, PhD, Giancarlo Comi, MD, and Massimo Filippi, MD, are with San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

"Our research interests focus on why many people with MS suffer , while others with MS withstand considerable without ," said Dr. DeLuca, VP for Research & Training at Kessler Foundation. "With our colleagues in Milan, we explore factors associated with lack of cognitive decline despite marked changes on imaging studies." In this study, 62 patients with MS (41 relapsing-remitting MS, 21 secondary progressive MS) had MRIs to estimate brain reserve and disease burden. Early-life cognitive leisure was measured as a source of cognitive reserve. Cognitive status was measured with tasks of cognitive efficiency and memory.

Dr. Sumowski, principal author/investigator, commented on the importance of the study, saying, "We demonstrated for the first time that larger maximal lifetime brain growth (which is heritable) and early life mental stimulation (e.g., reading, games, hobbies) independently and differentially protect against cognitive decline in MS. That is, genetics and life experience independently protect against cognitive decline in persons with MS." Foundation scientists have previously documented the protective effect of intellectual enrichment in MS.

Explore further: People with MS-related memory and attention problems have signs of extensive brain damage

More information: Sumowski JF, Wylie GR, Chiaravalloti N, DeLuca J. Intellectual enrichment lessens the effect of brain atrophy on learning and memory in multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2010 Jun 15;74(24):1942-5.

Sumowski JF, Wylie GR, Leavitt VM, Chiaravalloti ND, DeLuca J. Default network activity is a sensitive and specific biomarker of memory in multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2013 Feb;19(2):199-208.

Related Stories

People with MS-related memory and attention problems have signs of extensive brain damage

March 6, 2013
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have cognitive problems, or problems with memory, attention, and concentration, have more damage to areas of the brain involved in cognitive processes than people with MS who do not ...

MS study documents negative effect of warmer weather on cognition

March 13, 2012
Warm weather may hinder cognitive performance in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to results of a Kessler Foundation study e-published online ahead of print by Neurology. An accompanying editorial by Meier & ...

Dr. Chiaravalloti comments on trends in rehabilitation research in MS

September 14, 2012
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 ...

Study reports greater brain activation after cognitive rehabilitation for MS

January 17, 2012
Neuroscientists at Kessler Foundation have documented increased cerebral activation in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) following memory retraining using the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT).

Cognitive rehabilitation improves brain performance in patients with MS

February 22, 2012
In a new study published in the March issue of Radiology, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that cognitive rehabilitation changes brain function and improves cognitive performance in patients with relapsing-remitting ...

Recommended for you

Brain zaps may help curb tics of Tourette syndrome

January 16, 2018
Electric zaps can help rewire the brains of Tourette syndrome patients, effectively reducing their uncontrollable vocal and motor tics, a new study shows.

A 'touching sight': How babies' brains process touch builds foundations for learning

January 16, 2018
Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby's brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom's face, or the sound of her voice.

Researchers identify protein involved in cocaine addiction

January 16, 2018
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a protein produced by the immune system—granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)—that could be responsible for the development of cocaine addiction.

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

January 16, 2018
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative "geniuses" like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in ...

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

Brain imaging predicts language learning in deaf children

January 15, 2018
In a new international collaborative study between The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, researchers created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain scans to predict ...

0 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.