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Regularly Measuring Cognition in MS, and Treating Cognitive Issues: John DeLuca, PhD

The senior vice president for research and training at the Kessler Foundation spoke about the critical need to prioritize cognitive challenges among patients with multiple sclerosis, as it remains among the chief complaints. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“Cognition is a huge issue to the patients. It’s one of their biggest complaints—one of their biggest fears. They don’t want to lose their mind. We have very good tools for assessing cognition. The assessment of cognition is not an issue, it’s the use in clinics that’s the issue.”

In multiple sclerosis (MS) care, there has been a major refocusing in recent years on the so-called invisible symptoms of the disease. With a wide variety of pharmacologic therapies that have shown great ability to control the main disease processes available to the patient population, the needs they have voiced are now much more specific to these unaddressed symptoms.

One of the major needs aside from fatigue has been MS’s effect on cognition. Many patients, as John DeLuca, PhD, pointed out in conversation with NeurologyLive® at the 2022 Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, June 1-4, have cognition at the top of their list of concerns, even when they’re early on in their disease. Although physicians are aware of this impact of MS and tools to measure changes in cognition are readily available, the current literature suggest that the use of these tools in clinical practice is less than consistent.

While sitting down in National Harbor, Maryland, DeLuca, who is the senior vice president for research and training at the Kessler Foundation, and a professor in the departments of physical medicine & rehabilitation and neurology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, spoke about the importance of regularly measuring cognition in these patients. Particularly, he noted, because of the sometimes apparent disconnect between patient feelings about their cognition and their actual cognitive performance.

Additionally, the use of treatments such as cognitive rehabilitation are not as well utilized as they could be, despite the data that have been suggestive of their benefits. DeLuca noted that this speaks to the importance of new research efforts on this front and the inclusion of these end points in trials, such as one he is working on, ENLIGHTEN (NCT04140305), to see if, in fact, disease-modifying therapies can help address these issues at least in some part.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2022.