A study conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center showed use of a commercially-available brain training app significantly improved cognitive function in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”). The brain training used in the study was BrainHQ from Posit Science.
Nearly one million Americans, and 2.8 million people worldwide, are estimated to have MS — a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system. While often associated with motor control issues, MS also commonly includes cognitive and neurological challenges. Diminished speed of information processing, which can affect both movement and cognition, is one of the most common cognitive deficits.
The study enrolled 53 adults (aged 19-60) and randomized them into either (A) an intervention group using BrainHQ for a total of nine hours spread over 6 weeks (30 minutes, three times weekly) or (B) an active control group, using online casual games on the same time schedule. One subject withdrew the day training began. The primary outcome measure was the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS (BICAMS), which includes three subtests: the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT, the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test – Revised (BVMT-R), and the initial learning trials of the California Verbal Learning Test 2nd Edition (CVLT-II).
The independent researchers reported significant improvement in the intervention group (as compared to the control) in the BICAMS, as well as in each of its three sub-tests.
They also reported high adherence, with 92 percent completing all levels of brain exercise assigned.
These results confirm and extend findings in prior studies of cognitive training in MS, including seven prior studies using BrainHQ. This is the first study to show significant improvements in BICAMS and each of its sub-tests.
The study report concludes: “This study provides evidence that computerized cognitive training with BrainHQ is a valuable option for [people with MS] suffering from cognitive decline. It is convenient for the patient because they can do it at home when they have time and not at a specific time with a neuropsychologist.”
“These are very exciting results from independent researchers,” Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science, observed. “It makes sense that our exercises, shown in studies to improve speed of processing and myelination, would have an impact in a condition characterized by speed of processing deficits and de-myelination. We hope this spurs not just further research, but targeted chronic care improvement programs at leading medical centers and health plans to help patients in need.”
BrainHQ has shown benefits in hundreds of studies. Such benefits include gains in cognition (attention, speed, memory, decision-making), in quality of life (depressive symptoms, confidence and control, health-related quality of life) and in real-world activities (health outcomes, balance, driving, hearing). BrainHQ is offered, without charge, by leading national and 5-star Medicare Advantage plans and by leading medical centers, clinics, and communities. Consumers can try a BrainHQ exercise for free daily at https://www.brainhq.com.
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