Researchers receive $651,997 funding to study memory dysfunction in MS

Researchers at Montclair State University and Kessler Foundation have received funding totaling $651,997 from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to measure memory-related abilities in individuals with and without multiple sclerosis (MS) for clues to how such cognitive processes are altered by MS. Joshua Sandry, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Montclair State and Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, research scientist in the Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, collaborate on the 4-year study, titled "Neuroimaging of Hippocampally Mediated Memory Dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis."

Dr. Sandry, director of the Cognition and Neurocognitive Disorders Research Laboratory, at Montclair State, is principal investigator for this project. Dr. Dobryakova will oversee the clinical study, including advanced neuroimaging studies performed at the research-dedicated Rocco Ortenzio Center for Neuroimaging at Kessler Foundation.

Memory problems are a common cognitive disability that negatively affect the quality of life of individuals with MS. Despite the urgent need to develop effective treatments, this challenge has been met with mixed success. Lack of knowledge about the underlying cognitive and brain processes responsible for memory problems in MS hinders clinical progress.

This study aims to translate research from cognitive neuroscience to the MS research community to help identify which underlying cognitive and brain processes are impacted by MS. Specifically, researchers will investigate how changes in working memory and structural changes in the hippocampus may contribute to the memory problems that affect individuals with MS.

To our knowledge, this is the first investigation to utilize a strong translational approach to begin to pinpoint the interrelationship of working memory, brain functioning, and long-term memory problems in MS. This cutting-edge research may provide a strong foundation to our understanding of memory loss, and lead to effective interventions for restoring lost function."

Dr. Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, Research Scientist, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, Kessler Foundation

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