News Release

Kessler Foundation team finds speed-of-processing training has sustained cognitive benefits for individuals with multiple sclerosis  

Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial by MS researchers at Kessler Foundation shows significant improvement in processing speed following five-week, 10-session training intervention; treatment effect maintained at six-month follow up      

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Kessler Foundation

Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD

image: Dr. Chiaravalloti is director of the Centers for Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, and Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation. view more 

Credit: Kessler Foundation

East Hanover, NJ. May 9, 2022. Experts at Kessler Foundation reported the results of a randomized controlled trial to target deficits of processing speed in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) and showed improvement through the application of speed-of-processing training.

Their article, "The efficacy of speed of processing training for improving processing speed in individuals with multiple sclerosis: A randomized clinical trial," (doi: 10.1007/s00415-022-10980-9) was published online February 12, 2022, in Journal of Neurology. ( The authors are Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, PhD, Silvana L. Costa, PhD, Nancy B. Moore, MA, Kristen Costanza, and John DeLuca, PhD, of Kessler Foundation.

Cognitive dysfunction affects as many as 70% of people with MS. The most common deficit in cognitive function impacts processing speed, which adversely affects performance of tasks of daily living, including household chores, driving, and using public transportation, and contributes to the high employment among people with MS. Effective ways to improve processing speed in this population have the potential to enhance outcomes.

A total of 84 individuals with MS and impaired processing speed were randomized to treatment or placebo groups; final data analyses were based on 71 participants (Treatment, 37; Placebo, 34). All participants underwent neuropsychological evaluation and assessment of everyday cognitive function at baseline and at follow up immediately after the five-week, 10-session speed-of-processing training, and again six months later.

“We saw significant improvement in processing speed in the treatment group,” said Dr. Chiaravalloti, director of the Centers for Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, and Traumatic Brain Injury Research. “Moreover, we found that treatment dosage correlated with improvement. That is, participants who completed more levels within each training task showed greater benefits.”

“Another important finding was the sustained benefit at the six-month follow up,” noted Dr. Chiaravalloti, “regardless of whether the person received booster sessions. Future research is needed to evaluate long-term efficacy of speed-of-processing training in people with different subtypes of MS, including progressive MS.”

This research was supported by National Multiple Sclerosis Society grant 4997A5.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

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Graphic: Nancy D. Chiaravallotti, PhD

Caption: Dr. Chiaravalloti is director of the Centers for Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, and Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation.

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