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Kessler Foundation study shows poor sleep contributes to MS-related fatigue

Sleep disturbances are underrecognized factor in debilitating secondary fatigue in people with MS

Kessler Foundation


IMAGE: Dr. Strober is senior research scientist in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation. Her research focuses on the factors associated with employment among people with multiple sclerosis. view more

Credit: Kessler Foundation

West Orange, NJ. August 17, 2015. Kessler Foundation's Lauren Strober, PhD, explores the association of secondary fatigue and sleep disturbances in multiple sclerosis (MS). "Fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a look at the role of poor sleep" was published in Frontiers in Neurology (doi: 10.3389/fneur.2015.00021) Dr. Strober, an MS researcher at Kessler Foundation, confirmed that sleep disturbances significantly contribute to MS-related fatigue, a common and often disabling symptom among individuals with MS.

Review of the pertinent literature showed that sleep may be the dominant factor in fatigue in MS. This was also the finding in Dr. Strober's study of 107 employed individuals with MS of whom 61% reported poor sleep. Sleep disturbances accounted for 25% of the variance in fatigue in this subset; depression accounted for another 7%.

"Fatigue is detrimental to daily functioning and well being," noted Dr. Strober. "It clearly interferes with a person's ability to participate fully in the community and the workplace. If we can determine what contributes to fatigue in MS, we can improve quality of life and keep people engaged in work and social activities. Routine screening for sleep problems and treatment of sleep disturbances may reduce fatigue and its debilitating effects."

Dr. Strober is the recipient of a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research (POR) Career Development Award (K23) from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation and Research, which is part of the Eunice Kennedy Shrive National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The (POR) Career Development Awards support the career development of clinically trained professionals who have the potential to develop into productive, clinical investigators focusing on patient-oriented research. Dr. Strober's research focuses on the impact of MS on employment of individuals with MS, a group with unemployment rates as high as 80%. Dr. Strober is a senior research scientist in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation, and an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.


Funded by a grant from Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research) (1K23HD069494-01A1)

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 on Brain Injury Research, Consortium of MS Centers, International Progressive MS Alliance, the Patterson Trust, ARSEP Foundation, 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, mobile devices and virtual reality. Among discoveries 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.

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