About Multiple Sclerosis Foundation



Home > Learn About Multiple Sclerosis > News > Study implicates brain network links, slow cognitive speed

Study implicates brain network links, slow cognitive speed

7/8/2015

A new study reveals that decreased connectivity between network-specific brain regions are to blame for slowed cognitive speed in multiple sclerosis.

Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that, compared to healthy controls, individuals with MS exhibit a breakdown in communication between the part of the brain responsible for executing goal-directed thought and action and the regions responsible for carrying out tasks related to cognitive speed – such as visual processing, motor execution, and object recognition. The researchers believe that the diminished connections are likely the result of decreased white matter surrounding the neurons in the brain.

The authors recruited 29 participants with relapsing-remitting MS and 23 age- and sex- matched healthy controls. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while completing a measure of cognitive processing speed. While accuracy was similar for both healthy controls and individuals with MS, response times for individuals with MS were much slower. Analysis of the fMRI data revealed that while completing this measure, MS patients showed weaker functional connections with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

“These findings reveal a diffuse pattern of disconnectivity with executive areas of the brain,” said lead author Nicholas Hubbard. “Importantly, these decreases in connectivity predicted MS-related cognitive slowing both in and out of the fMRI environment suggesting that these results were not specific to our task, but rather were able to generalize to other situations where cognitive speed is required.”

The findings were findings published in the journal Neuropsychology.



  Support the MSF
Supporting MSF's programs to help make "a brighter tomorrow" has never been easier.
make a donation 

  Learn About MS
Common symptoms of MS include fatigue, weakness, spasticity, balance problems, bladder and bowel problems, numbness, vision loss, tremors and depression.
learn more 

 

Unless otherwise specified, all medical content is compiled by MSF staff and reviewed for accuracy by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.

The MSF strives to present clear and unbiased information. This site is partially funded through a grant from Bayer Healthcare, LLC.

© Copyright 2000-2013 Multiple Sclerosis Foundation - All Rights Reserved

�