Study Aims to Reform Understanding and Treatment of Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers will independently investigate the brain networks associated with ‘state’ fatigue

East Hanover, NJ — April 9, 2024 —The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has provided a $722,602 grant to Kessler Foundation scientist Glenn Wylie, DPhil, for his study “Establishing a clearer measure of cognitive fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis:State vs. Trait.” Dr. Wylie is director of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center.

Glenn Wylie, DPhil is director of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center and recipient of a National Multiple Sclerosis Society grant.
Glenn Wylie, DPhil, is director of the Rocco
Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center and recipient
of a National Multiple Sclerosis Society grant.

Conventional fatigue assessment methods fail to distinguish between primary and secondary fatigue, hindering progress in understanding and treating fatigue in MS. “Previous investigations into fatigue have predominantly focused on secondary factors such as sleep disturbances or depression, failing to adequately capture the essence of primary fatigue directly resulting from MS,” explained Dr. Wylie.

Recent findings challenge the conventional wisdom that both 'state' and 'trait' measures of fatigue evaluate the same underlying construct. “It's proposed that 'state' measures reflect instantaneous experiences of fatigue and offer a more accurate assessment of primary fatigue, while 'trait' measures that gauge fatigue over extended periods are susceptible to extraneous influences, thus representing secondary fatigue,” Dr. Wylie stated.

“Our study aims to validate ‘state’ measures of fatigue, offering a more accurate assessment of primary fatigue through correlation with objective performance and brain activation patterns,” he said. “We will do this by employing neuropsychological testing, functional neuroimaging, and connectivity mapping,” said Dr. Wylie.

This study signifies a crucial shift in clinical practice and research, prioritizing the assessment of primary fatigue attributed directly to MS. “By redirecting focus towards understanding and alleviating primary fatigue, our research aims to substantially improve the quality of life for individuals living with MS, whose daily activities are often severely constrained by debilitating fatigue,” Dr. Wylie concluded.

Funding: National Multiple Sclerosis Society Grant # RG-2307-41989.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, collaborates with MS organizations around the world and provides services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. The Society has invested more than $1.1 billion to advance MS research and paved the way for every effective MS treatment available today, including the first therapies for primary progressive and pediatric MS. For more information, visit the National MS Society.

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research. Our scientists seek to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes, including employment, for adults and children with neurological and developmental disabilities of the brain and spinal cord including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and autism. Kessler Foundation also leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

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

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