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Kessler Foundation scientists receive Consortium of MS Centers grant to study emotional processing in MS

2013-03-27 12:31:02 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Helen Genova, PhD, and Jean Lengenfelder, PhD, were awarded a $40,000 grant to study disorders of emotional processing in multiple sclerosis.

West Orange, NJ. March 27, 2013. Helen Genova, PhD, and Jean Lengenfelder, PhD, were awarded a $40,000 grant to study disorders of emotional processing in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).  The one-year study, funded by The Consortium of MS Centers, is titled “Remediation of emotional processing deficits in MS: A pilot study.”  Dr. Genova is a research scientist in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research and Dr. Lengenfelder is assistant director of Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation.

“This is one of the first studies to address emotional processing deficits in MS,” noted Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience & TBI Research at Kessler Foundation.  “The program being tested is an emotional processing training program that has been successful in both autism and schizophrenia. Our scientists will examine its effects on emotional processing abilities, as well as on mood, cognitive processing, and quality of life.”

Recent evidence suggests that a significant number of individuals with MS have difficulty in emotional processing.  “Specifically, individuals with MS may have difficulty correctly identifying emotions from facial expressions,” explained Dr. Genova.  “Because deficits in emotional processing can have a significant negative impact on social interactions and quality of life, finding ways to treat these deficits is critical to improving the lives of individuals with MS.”

Drs. Genova  and Lengenfelder work closely with Dr. Chiaravalloti and John DeLuca, PhD , VP for Research and Training at Kessler Foundation , both of whom are experts in cognitive rehabilitation research in MS and traumatic brain injury. Drs. Genova, Lengenfelder, DeLuca and Chiaravalloti have faculty appointments in the department of physical medicine & rehabilitation at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

 Recent article: Genova HM, Lengenfelder J, Chiaravalloti ND, Moore NB, DeLuca J. Processing speed versus working memory: contributions to an information-processing task in multiple sclerosis. Appl Neuropsychol Adult. 2012;19(2):132-40. doi: 10.1080/09084282.2011.643951.

 About MS Research at Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation's cognitive rehabilitation research in MS is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National MS Society, NJ Commission of Brain Injury Research, and Kessler Foundation. Scientists in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation have made important contributions to the knowledge of cognitive decline in MS. Clinical studies span new learning, memory, executive function, attention and processing speed. Research tools include innovative applications of neuroimaging, iPADs, and virtual reality. Among recent findings are the benefits of cognitive reserve; correlation between cognitive performance and outdoor temperatures; the efficacy of short-term cognitive rehabilitation using modified story technique; and the correlation between memory improvement and cerebral activation on fMRI.

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 leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

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Contacts:

Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org

Lauren Scrivo, 973.324.8384, 973.768.6583 - c, LScrivo@KesslerFoundation.org