September 12, 2012. West Orange, NJ. 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).
About MS Research at Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation's cognitive rehabilitation research in MS is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National MS Society and Kessler Foundation. Scientists in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation have made important contributions to the knowledge of cognitive decline in MS. Clinical studies span new learning, memory, executive function, attention and processing speed. Research tools include innovative applications of fMRI and virtual reality. Among recent findings are the benefits of cognitive reserve; correlation between cognitive performance and outdoor temperatures; the efficacy of short-term cognitive rehabilitation using modified story technique; and the correlation between memory improvement and cerebral activation on fMRI.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a large public charity in the field of disability, conducts rehabilitation research in mobility and cognition that advances the care of people with multiple sclerosis, brain injury, stroke and spinal cord injury. Kessler Foundation is one of six centers in the U.S. to have NIDRR-funded model systems for traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Kessler Foundation Program Center fosters new approaches to the persistently high rates of unemployment among people disabled by injury or disease. Targeted grant making funds promising programs across the nation. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, people recovering from catastrophic injuries and stroke, and young adults striving for independence are among the thousands of people finding jobs and training for careers as a result of the commitment of Kessler Foundation.
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Carolann Murphy, PA; 973.324.8382; CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org
Lauren Scrivo; 973-324-8384; Lscrivo@KesslerFoundation.org