A recent study by MS researchers at The Kessler Foundation describes a new nonpharmacological approach to reduce cognitive fatigue, a disabling symptom reported by as many as 90% of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Using functional neuroimaging, they demonstrated that the prospect of monetary reward stimulates the frontostriatal network, resulting in the reduction of cognitive fatigue in individuals with MS and healthy controls. This is the first study to demonstrate this effect in an MS population.
Cognitive fatigue is a special kind of fatigue or tiredness. It is a common problem that can happen after a mild, moderate or severe brain injury. When a child has cognitive fatigue, it means their brain has to work harder to concentrate on tasks it used to be able to do much more easily before the brain injury.
“We found significant differences in activation between the two conditions in both groups,” said Dr. Dobryakova, the lead author. “With the outcome condition, significant activation of the frontostriatal network was associated with significant reduction in fatigue, suggesting that behavioral interventions that motivate individuals to reach a particular goal may be an effective approach to reducing fatigue. These findings show that there’s potential for treating cognitive fatigue in MS with noninvasive interventions that provide a goal, such as winning money (as in the current study), for example, or achieving a good score on a test.”
Dr. Dobryakova, a research scientist at Kessler Foundation, was a recipient of a 2016 Switzer Research Fellowship by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and a 2015 Independent Investigator Grant from the National MS Society.
MS & Me Radio host Erika Lyons Richardson interviews Dr. Dobryakova in what is sure to be a wonderfully informative broadcast!