Dr. Strober of Kessler Foundation Explores Mobile App for Assessing MS-related Disability

Innovative study introduces iPAD-based application for precise measurement of neurological and neuropsychological impairments in individuals with MS

East Hanover, NJ – February 5, 2018 – Lauren Strober, PhD, senior research scientist in neuropsychology and neuroscience research at Kessler Foundation, has been awarded a $100,000 grant by Biogen, for a collaborative study with the Cleveland Clinic. Biogen is a biotechnology company specializing in the discovery, development, and delivery of therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Accurate assessment of neurological and neuropsychological impairments in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) is challenging. This study introduces a novel computer-based application for precise and valid measurement of MS-related disability: the Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test (MSPT). The MSPT, which will be conducted using the Apple iPad® tablet, provides precise, quantitative measurements of walking speed, balance, arm function, visual function, and cognitive functions, such as information processing speed and visual episodic memory.

“The MSPT is a potentially transformative approach to collecting MS disability outcome data for patient care and research,” explained Dr. Strober. “The goal of the study is to create a normative sample that is reflective of the U.S. population statistics by collecting data on cognitively intact, healthy participants. These data will serve as a benchmark for comparison with data collected from individuals with MS, which enables us to assess differences in performance that may be attributable to the disease.”

A set number of healthy individuals will complete the iPad application to develop the normative database stratified by age, gender, and education. Kessler Foundation is one of the five study sites.

About the MSPT Study:

This study is open to men and women who have less than 4 years of college or no college education and have no medical or neurological illnesses that can affect thinking skills. The visit will last approximately 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours and will take place at Kessler Foundation in East Hanover, NJ (though off-site testing may be an option). During the visit, participants will be asked to complete several questionnaires that assess mood, as well as tests that measure thinking skills. Volunteers will be compensated for their participation.

For more information, or to enroll in this study, please contact our Research Recruitment Specialist: researchstudies@kesslerfoundation.org.

About MS Research at Kessler Foundation:

Kessler Foundation's cognitive rehabilitation research in MS is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, National MS Society, Consortium of MS Centers, the Patterson Trust, Biogen Idec, Hearst Foundations, the International Progressive MS Alliance, and Kessler Foundation. Under the leadership of John DeLuca, PhD, senior VP for Research & Training, and Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research, scientists have made important contributions to the knowledge of cognitive decline in MS and developed new treatments. Clinical studies span new learning, memory, executive function, attention and processing speed, cognitive reserve, emotional processing, employment and cognitive fatigue. Research tools include innovative applications of neuroimaging, mobile devices, and virtual reality. Neuroimaging studies are conducted at the research-dedicated Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation. Kessler researchers and clinicians have faculty appointments in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

About Kessler Foundation:

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes—including employment—for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation also leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

For more information on Kessler Foundation’s research, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

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Contacts:

Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382; CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org

Laura Viglione, MS; 973-323-3675; LViglione@KesslerFoundation.org