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Efficacy of a short cognitive training program in patients with multiple sclerosis

Authors Pérez-Martín MY, González-Platas M, Eguía-del Río P, Croissier-Elías C, Jiménez Sosa A

Received 12 October 2016

Accepted for publication 14 December 2016

Published 3 February 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 245—252


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Video abstract presented by María Yaiza Pérez-Martín

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María Yaiza Pérez-Martín,1 Montserrat González-Platas,1 Pablo Eguía-del Río,2 Cristina Croissier-Elías,1 Alejandro Jiménez Sosa3

1Service of Neurology, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Canarias, La Laguna, 2Service of Neurology, Doctor José Molina Orosa Hospital, Arrecife, Lanzarote, 3Unit of Research, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Canarias, La Laguna, Spain

Cognitive impairment is a common feature in multiple sclerosis (MS) and may have a substantial impact on quality of life. Evidence about the effectiveness of neuropsychological rehabilitation is still limited, but current data suggest that computer-assisted cognitive training improves cognitive performance.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of combined computer-assisted training supported by home-based neuropsychological training to improve attention, processing speed, memory and executive functions during 3 consecutive months.
Methods: In this randomized controlled study blinded for the evaluators, 62 MS patients with clinically stable disease and mild-to-moderate levels of cognitive impairment were randomized to receive a computer-assisted neuropsychological training program (n=30) or no intervention (control group [CG]; n=32). The cognitive assessment included the Brief Repeatable Battery of Neuropsychological Test. Other secondary measures included subjective cognitive impairment, anxiety and depression, fatigue and quality of life measures.
Results: The treatment group (TG) showed significant improvements in measures of verbal memory, working memory and phonetic fluency after intervention, and repeated measures analysis of covariance revealed a positive effect in most of the functions. The control group (CG) did not show changes. The TG showed a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms and significant improvement in quality of life. There were no improvements in fatigue levels and depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: Cognitive intervention with a computer-assisted training supported by home training between face-to-face sessions is a useful tool to treat patients with MS and improve functions such as verbal memory, working memory and phonetic fluency.

Keywords: multiple sclerosis, cognitive training, cognitive impairment, rehabilitation

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