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Neuropsychology & Neuroscience

The Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Laboratory (NNL) at Kessler Foundation conducts research to improve cognition in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Common effects of MS and TBI are difficulties with thinking, learning, and memory. Executive functions, including performing tasks in a sequence and problem solving, are also compromised. Individuals may have an increased feeling of apathy, in which they don’t have a desire to start a task, even a simple task such as folding laundry. MS and TBI can also cause individuals to tire quickly when performing thinking tasks—known as cognitive fatigue.

TBI and MS cause people to continuously adapt to their current abilities. It's a lifestyle change, not only for themselves but for their families as well (view our TBI newsletter to read their stories and gather resources). One of the hardest things in life is not being able to recall a fond memory or forgetting what you just read. These situations result in less independence in activities of daily living and limit the likelihood of maintaining employment. 

The NNL strives to discover ways to improve cognition, prevent decline, and limit fatigue. Through non-invasive techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI), and neuropsychological (paper and pencil) tests, we measure treatment outcomes to determine how research participants are responding to the studied treatments. fMRI shows what parts of the brain are active when performing various thinking tasks. By highlighting active parts of the brain, researchers can identify changes in brain activity after treatment.

NNL research is readily applicable to improving someone’s quality of life. It comes back to keeping your mind active to improve cognition or prevent decline. NNL Director Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD said, “Research is tremendously important to society as a whole. It is research that is responsible for advances, such as improved technology, as well as our knowledge of what keeps us healthy…Research is essential to living the kind of life we want to live.” View our active research studies for TBI and MS. Also, stay informed by visiting Kessler Foundation’s YouTube channel and Neuroscience Research and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Facebook pages.

Recent News & Research Discoveries for individuals with multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury: