Kessler Foundation Research Center, USA: treating new learning and memory defects

Treating new learning and memory deficits in Progressive MS: the modified story memory technique

Principal Investigator: Nancy Chiaravalloti, Ph.D.
Institution: Kessler Foundation Research Center
Country: USA
Amount Awarded: €74,976

Cognitive function, especially learning and memory, impacts a substantial proportion of people with MS. This team has demonstrated that the modified “Story Memory Technique” (mSMT) – which helps people to learn new information and remember older information using imagery and context – improves learning, as well as laboratory measures of memory and activities of everyday life. However, this treatment has not yet been adequately tested in people with progressive MS. Now the team proposes to test the mSMT in persons with progressive MS, measuring post-treatment changes on both laboratory measures of memory abilities and on daily life memory abilities, self-efficacy, quality of life, and occupational functioning.

What does this mean for people living with progressive MS?

The results may have a significant impact on addressing the troubling symptom of cognitive dysfunction and improving quality of life for people with progressive MS.


Project Update

Status: Extended to continue recruitment of trial participants.

22 people with progressive MS have been enrolled in a clinical trial of memory and learning interventions designed to maintain or improve cognition in people with progressive MS.

  • 12 people have completed the treatment phase and the immediate follow-up evaluation
  • 7 people have completed the full study, including the long term follow-up evaluation
  • 3 people have completed the baseline evaluation and are currently in treatment

112 potential participants were screened to take part in the study at the initial screening stage but could not be included. Reasons for exclusion at that point included: having relapsing-remitting MS (not progressive MS, medication regime (e.g. on steroids), the participant lived too far away for participation, the participant was not willing to devote the time to the study.


Principal Investigator Nancy Chiaravalloti, Ph.D.

Nancy D Chiaravalloti

Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, PhD, received her PhD in clinical psychology and neuropsychology at MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. She received further training at Brown University and at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Chiaravalloti is a licensed psychologist who conducts research in cognition and mechanisms for improving cognition across various neurological populations. She has over 85 peer-reviewed publications. She focuses her work on cognitive rehabilitation in persons with MS and traumatic brain injury.

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