Cognitive training broadly refers to various behavioral interventions that seek to target and enhance performance in different cognitive domains. A variety of cognitive training methods have been used to potentially improve cognitive performance in healthy and clinical populations, but relatively few studies have specifically examined the effects of targeted training of working memory in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. In the present study, we examined the effects of 20 sessions of working memory training (using a visual letter 3-back task) in MS patients (n = 12) and healthy control participants (n = 12). Event-Related Potential (ERP) measures of neural activity were obtained before and after training on tasks of working memory (Spatial 3-back task), processing speed (Visual Search Task), and cognitive control (Go/Nogo Flanker task). Cognitive performance and ERP measures obtained for these tasks served as behavioral and neural outcome measures of training efficacy. After working memory training, both groups exhibited improvements in performance accuracy for the Spatial 3-back and Visual Search task, and reductions in reaction time for both groups in all tasks. With respect to ERP measures, N1 amplitude was significantly enhanced in both groups during the Spatial 3-back, and P3 amplitude was significantly enhanced in all tasks for Healthy Controls, with little-to-no change in MS patients. This finding regarding the N1 indicates that n-back training was able to effectively enhance neural processes in MS patients. The P3 amplitude effects may highlight limitations in the neural plasticity of MS patients, and indicate processes that may not be reliably and significantly positively affected by cognitive training interventions. On other outcome tasks, MS patients, on average, exhibited faster ERP latencies from pretest to posttest across a range of trial types. Attenuation of the P3 in MS patients was also present in the outcome tasks. MS patients exhibited a similar trend to control participants regarding these measures. This study provides insights into the both the potential and limits of cognitive training and rehabilitation in the MS population.
|Advisor:||Covey, Thomas J.|
|Commitee:||Anderson, Laura, Shucard, David, Shucard, Janet|
|School:||State University of New York at Buffalo|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 81/8(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Neurosciences, Cognitive psychology|
|Keywords:||Cognitive training, Event related potentials, Multiple sclerosis, Transfer|
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