Kessler Foundation team to study impact of strategy-based cognitive training on new learning and memory in individuals with multiple sclerosis

Open double-blind, randomized clinical trial will assess efficacy of a protocol based on Kessler Foundation Strategy-based Training to Enhance Memory (KF-STEM™)

Female scientist wearing a dark jacket and red blouse at Kessler Foundation
Dr. Chiaravalloti is director of the Centers for
Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, and Traumatic
Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation.

East Hanover, NJ. February 1, 2023. Despite the prevalence of disabling cognitive deficits in the population with multiple sclerosis (MS), few treatment protocols are supported by Class I research evidence. To address this need, MS researchers at Kessler Foundation plan a double-blind, randomized trial of an eight-session protocol for cognitive rehabilitation based on the Kessler Foundation Strategy-based Training to Enhance Memory (KF-STEM™).

Their open access article, "Kessler Foundation Strategy-based Training to Enhance Memory (KF-STEM™): Study protocol for a single-site double-blind randomized clinical trial in multiple sclerosis” (doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2022.101026) was published online November 3, 2022, in Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. The authors are Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, PhD, Erica Weber, PhD, Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, Amanda Botticello, PhD, MPH, Yael Goverover, PhD, Nancy B. Moore, MA, and John DeLuca, PhD, of Kessler Foundation.

The team plans to enroll 120 individuals with MS-related impairments in new learning and memory protocols. All will undergo neuropsychological evaluation (for objective cognitive performance), assessment of global functioning (to assess everyday functioning and quality of life), functional magnetic resonance imaging (to examine impact of treatment on patterns of cerebral activation). Longer-term efficacy will be assessed by a six-month follow up, and whether booster sessions can maintain efficacy over time.

Cognitive deficits often have a negative impact on the lives of persons with MS, according to Dr. Chiaravalloti, director of the Centers for Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, and Traumatic Brain Injury Research. “Treating these deficits can improve how they function in their everyday lives, at home, at work, and in their communities. Through this rigorously designed trial, we plan to complete the bench-to-bedside translation of our scientific research and maximize its real world benefits for individuals living with MS.” 

This research was supported by National Institutes of Health (1R01HD095915). 

For ongoing studies in multiple sclerosis, visit

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, contact:
Deb Hauss, [email protected]
Carolann Murphy, [email protected]

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