Finding new ways to measure cognitive changes in people with MS

Image shows some cogs

Dr Robert Dineen

University of Nottingham

£95,794

About the project

Many people with MS experience problems with cognitive processes, such as memory, decision making and concentration. Unfortunately there are few effective treatments for these symptoms, and no reliable way to measure someone’s response to treatments in a clinical trial.

This project will involve using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), an imaging technique which measures blood flow within the brain to try to understand brain activity. The researchers will try to measure and describe the organisation of networks in the brain by analysing fMRI data using a technique called Graph Theory. It is hoped that this technique will reveal specific differences in the brains of people with MS with cognitive difficulties.

This information could be used to measure the effectiveness of new treatments. The project will also involve testing these measures in a small trial of an intervention designed to improve cognition in people with MS. The intervention to be used has not yet been defined (it could be a drug or a psychological approach) as it will depend upon the results of an ongoing systematic review.

How will it help people with MS?

This project will lead to better ways of measuring the changes in cognition that occur in people with MS, aiding the development and testing of future treatments for this difficult symptom.

The difference you can make

Experiencing cognitive difficulties can be very distressing for people. Support this research and help us to understand more so we can reduce the impact on peoples’ lives.