Renner A, Bätge SJ, Filser M, Lau S, Pöttgen J, Penner IK.

Purpose: Despite typically more pronounced cognitive and mental health issues in progressive disease courses of multiple sclerosis (PMS), rehabilitation research in this subgroup is rare. The efficacy of two non-pharmacological interventions with positive results from prior investigations was therefore examined in PMS specifically. Methods: Persons with PMS (pwPMS) received either computerized cognitive training (BrainStim), standardized cognitive-behavioral group sessions (Metacognitive Training [MaTiMS]), or a combination of both in an ambulatory setting. Neuropsychological assessment was conducted before and after the four-week intervention. Results: 37 participants (13 with primary/24 with secondary PMS, meanage = 52.87, SDage = 7.11, meanEDSS = 4.02, SDEDSS = 1.35) entered analyses. The BrainStim group improved in immediate and delayed verbal memory, recognition, verbal working memory, and perceived cognitive deficits while experiencing increased anxiety post-intervention. MaTiMS participants reported high program satisfaction and less cognitive difficulties at retest. The Combination group performed better in immediate and delayed verbal memory, and in information processing speed after training. Descriptive data further indicated positive effects on anxiety and depression in the MaTiMS and Combination group. Conclusions: While objective cognitive performance improved when explicitly trained, psychoeducative sessions contributed to subjective mental health. The combination of both approaches is thus suggested, considering the specific needs of pwPMS treated in an ambulatory setting.

Appl Neuropsychol Adult. 2023 Aug 31;1-13

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