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MS researchers correlate BICAMS and performance of everyday life activities

Findings of Kessler Foundation study may simplify cognitive assessment in a range of clinical settings

Kessler Foundation

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IMAGE: Dr. Chiaravalloti is director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience and TBI Research at Kessler Foundation. Dr. Goverover, a former Foundation fellow, is a visiting professor from New York University. view more

Credit: Kessler Foundation

West Orange, NJ. September 24, 2015. Kessler Foundation scientists found that the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) predicted performance of activities of daily living using Actual Reality™ (AR). The article, "Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) and performance of everyday life tasks," was published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal. The authors are Yael Goverover, PhD, OT, Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD and John DeLuca, PhD.

Dr. Goverover, is a visiting scientist at Kessler Foundation. She was a NIDRR-funded postdoctoral fellow at Kessler Foundation and is now an associate professor at New York University. Dr. Chiaravalloti is director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience and TBI Research at Kessler Foundation. Dr. DeLuca is senior VP of Research & Training at Kessler Foundation.

The BICAMS is a short, valid, cost-effective clinical assessment that can be administered in settings where there are barriers to extensive neuropsychological testing. BICAMS comprises three tests: the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), California Verbal Learning Test-II, and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised. While the BICAMS has been found to be useful in the cognitive assessment of individuals with MS, few studies have examined the relationship between cognitive ability and performance of everyday life activities. In this study, 41 people with MS and 32 healthy controls were tested with BICAMS and evaluated for their ability to perform AR tasks of accessing the internet via computer and ordering cookies or airline tickets.

Performance on the BICAMS was worse among the participants with MS," noted Dr. Goverover, "and poor performance on BICAMS correlated with poor performance of AR tasks, which require more complex cognitive skills. This indicates that BICAMS may be useful for predicting performance on everyday activities, as well as for assessing cognitive abilities. This finding has implications for clinicians who care for individuals with MS in a broad range of settings, especially those with limited access to neuropsychological consultation."

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This study was funded by grants from the National MS Society (RG3935A2/2; PP1331)

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, Consortium of MS Centers, the Patterson Trust, Biogen Idec, Hearst Foundation, the International Progressive MS Alliance, and Kessler Foundation. Under the leadership of John DeLuca, PhD, senior VP for Research & Training, and Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, 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, employment and cognitive fatigue. Research tools include innovative applications of neuroimaging, mobile devices, 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; factors related to risk for unemployment, 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 KesslerFoundation.org.

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Carolann Murphy, PA; 973.324.8382; CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org

Lauren Scrivo, 973.324.8384/973.768.6583 (cell); LScrivo@KesslerFoundation.org

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