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Kessler Foundation and University of Bordeaux collaborate on MS emotional processing study

Kessler Foundation


IMAGE: Drs. Jean Lengenfelder and Helen Genova, of Kessler Foundation, study the cause and possible treatments for emotional processing deficits in individuals with multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury. People with... view more

Credit: Kessler Foundation

WEST ORANGE, N.J.--Kessler Foundation received $65,500 as part of a two-year $140,000 grant from the ARSEP Foundation of France to the University of Bordeaux, to launch a collaborative study of emotional processing deficits in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Helen Genova, Ph.D., and Jean Lengenfelder, Ph.D., of Kessler Foundation and Bruno Brochet, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Bordeaux are the principal investigators.

"Reduced social participation is common among people with MS, affecting their relationships at home, in the community and at work," said John DeLuca, Ph.D., senior vice president for Research and Training at Kessler Foundation. "Because disorders of emotional processing may lie at the heart of this problem, we are pleased with this opportunity to join with our colleagues in France to explore this important line of clinical research. It is through international collaboration that we will make more rapid progress toward understanding and treating emotional processing deficits and improving social functioning in this population."

People with deficits in emotional processing have difficulty recognizing and interpreting the facial expressions of six universal emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. This inability to perceive the emotions of others can lead to inappropriate responses, relationship difficulties and social isolation. The study with the University of Bordeaux will examine how emotional processing deficits in MS are associated with social functioning across three levels: society integration and social functioning/participation, marriage/significant other relationships and friendships.


Recent relevant publication: re authors of a recently published study, Genova HM, Rajagopalan V, Chiaravalloti N, Binder A, Deluca J, Lengenfelder J. Facial affect recognition linked to damage in specific white matter tracts in traumatic brain injury, Social Neuroscience, 2015;10(1):27-34.

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, NJ Commission of Brain Injury Research, Consortium of MS Centers and Kessler Foundation. Under the leadership of John DeLuca. Ph.D., and Nancy Chiaravalloti, Ph.D., director of Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research, scientists have made important contributions to the knowledge of cognitive decline in MS. Clinical studies span new learning, memory, executive function, attention and processing speed, emotional processing and cognitive fatigue. Research tools include innovative applications of neuroimaging, iPADs and virtual reality. Among recent findings are the benefits of cognitive reserve and aerobic exercise; correlation between cognitive performance and outdoor temperatures; efficacy of short-term cognitive rehabilitation using modified story technique; and the correlation between memory improvement and cerebral activation on fMRI. Foundation research scientists have faculty appointments at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

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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