Posted 06.17.2020 | by AMRA
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system affecting around one million Americans. Depending on the areas in the brain and spinal cord involved, MS can cause alterations in sensation, balance, muscle strength, coordination, autonomic nervous system activity, mood, and cognition.
Cognitive symptoms may include impairments in attention, processing speed, working memory, and executive function. Computerized cognitive training is often employed in MS rehabilitation programs, but the results for improved cognitive function have been variable.
Mindfulness-based interventions offer potential promise in MS rehabilitation because of their proven effects on brain areas involved in attention and executive function. Manglani et al. [Neuropsychology] tested the efficacy of mindfulness training compared to computerized cognitive training and a wait-list control on improving working memory and processing speed among persons with MS.
The researchers randomly assigned 61 persons with MS (77% female; 72% Caucasian; average age = 46 years) to mindfulness training, computerized cognitive training, or a wait-list control. The four-week mindfulness training was an abbreviated version of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program involving the body scan, breath awareness, awareness of sensations, thoughts and emotions, and choiceless awareness. Patients met weekly in groups for two hours, and were encouraged to engage in 40 minutes of daily home mindfulness practice.
The computerized cognitive training group also met in groups every week for two hours over the course of four weeks. The first hour of each group was devoted to didactic material on cognitive deficits and allowed for group sharing of experiences. The second hour consisted of computer game playing designed to maximize working memory and processing speed. The games required increasing degrees of attention, identification of stimuli, […]