Pöttgen J, Friede T, Lau S, Gold SM, Letsch C, Bender G, Flachenecker P, Heesen C, Penner IK.

Objective: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system of potential autoimmune origin that is frequently associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive deficits, as well as with fatigue, stress and psychosocial burden. In the present controlled multi-centre trial we investigated whether two specific neuropsychological interventions (1. metacognitive training (MaTiMS); 2. computerized working memory training (BrainStim) in combination with MaTiMS) applied as add-on therapies to real life standard rehabilitation lead to increased benefit in self-perceived cognitive deficits (the primary outcome) in MS patients compared to standard rehab. Methods: 288 adult persons in three German rehab centers with a confirmed diagnosis of MS were sequentially allocated to one of the three intervention groups. 249 (87%) participants completed the post assessment and 187 (63%) the online survey after 12 months. Perceived cognitive deficits, mood, fatigue, coping, and activity were evaluated by self-reports and neuropsychological tests at baseline and 4 weeks postintervention. All self-reports were additionally administered digitally at three, six, and twelve months from baseline. Results: We could not show differential effects on the primary outcome between the intervention groups and the control group (p=.369, p=.934). Immediately after each intervention we could show beneficial time effects in all three groups on self-perceived cognitive deficits as well as on most of the other outcomes. The reported effects were however not sustained at 6 months follow-up. Conclusions: Our findings could not show an additional effect of specific cognitive training on cognitive deficit perception in MS. However, findings indicate that MS rehabilitation may improve patient reported outcomes in the short term. They also underline the need for concepts to maintain rehabilitation gains when patients return back home.

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2022 Mar;59:103687.

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