Computer Training Program Improves Cognitive Test Scores in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

MS patients who use cognitive remediation training program showed improvement in neuropsychological tests.

A computer-based cognitive remediation training program for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) showed significantly higher cognitive test scores than participants who used a placebo computer program, a recent trial found.

The randomized controlled trial enrolled patients with MS to participate in the at-home 12 week, computer-based study.

The trial randomized 71 people to participate in the active, computerized training program and 64 people to use the placebo program with ordinary computer games.

Participants were asked to train 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, over the course of 12 weeks. Study technicians provided technical support and weekly coaching sessions.

Those who used the cognitive remediation training program that was a research version of Posit Science’s Brain HQ saw a 29% improvement in neuropsychological tests. Those in the placebo group saw a 15% improvement.

Although improvement was seen across a range of specific cognitive measures in the active group, no improvements were measured in daily living activities.

The results were presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver.

Researchers believe there was clear superiority of the training program over the placebo group. If the active group had been as compliant in the study as the placebo group, which engaged in the computer program on average 19 more hours than the active group, they would most likely have seen greater gains, according to the study.

“Many patients with MS don't have the time or resources to get to the clinic several times a week for cognitive remediation, and this research shows remotely- supervised cognitive training can be successfully provided to individuals with MS from home,” said senior study author Lauren B. Krupp, MD. “Future studies will look at which patients with MS might respond most to cognitive remediation, and whether these improvements can be enhanced or sustained over longer periods of time.”