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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence

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VA Videos on Cognitive Impairment in Multiple Sclerosis

In July 2011, the VA did a satellite video broadcast on cognitive dysfunction in people with MS with two experts:

Aaron Turner, director of rehabilitation psychology and assistant director of research at VA's MS Center of Excellence, West, in Seattle, Washington and associate professor at the University of Washington.

Stephen Rao, professor and director of the Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging and a neuropsychologist at the Cleveland Clinic's Mellen Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Topics include:

  • Clinical strategies to understand cognitive dysfunction in MS
  • Brain imaging changes underlying cognitive dysfunction
  • Pharmacological interventions to manage cognitive deficits
  • Cognitive rehabilitation strategies to enhance memory, attention, and executive function.

The target audience for the videos is primarily VA providers, but the information is very relevant and useful to Veterans, their families and other care givers. For your convenience, we have divided the 90 minute broadcast into shorter clips on specific topics. Click on any of the images or titles below to see the videos.


The narrator and two experts at a conference table MS & Cognitive Impairment Intro.
Two experts on MS and Cognitive Impairment discuss clinical strategies, brain imaging changes, pharmacological interventions and cognitive rehabilitation strategies. (4.5 minutes)
Stephen Rao Prevalence of Cognitive Dysfunction
Stephen Rao explains that professional opinion has changed over the years. Recent studies show that cognitive dysfunction in MS patients is very high. (3 minutes)
Veteran talking about cognitive dysfunction Veterans on Cognitive Dysfunction
Four Veterans talk about their personal experience and challenges with cognitive dysfunction.
(3.5 minutes)
graph of domains of cognitive function Cognitive Functions and Tests
Different functions are assessed for cognitive impairment. These include problem solving, attention, learning and memory, language, perceptions and personality. (7 minutes)
Photo of Stephen Rao Assessing Cognitive Functioning
Stephen Rao explains why self-report is not accurate and compares the battery of MS cognitive tests with the mini mental state exam. (2.5 minutes)
Aaron Turner photo Cognitive Functioning & Daily Life
Aaron Turner answers the question, "Why be concerned about cognitive dysfunction?" Cognitive function is very related both to activities of daily living and quality of life.
(6 minutes)
Brain scans of a control subject and an MS patient showing Corpus Callosum Atrophy Neuropathology and Cognition
Stephen Rao discusses the advances in understanding the pathology of MS, how it progresses over the course of the disease, and how that relates to cognition. (10 minutes)
zzzalttextzzz Emotional Disorders
People with MS have changes in their emotions. However, it is not clear how these emotional changes are actually influenced by the biological changes of MS.
(2 minutes)
MRI of verbal memory Advances in MRI Tools
Some advances are additional, such as injecting a contrast agent. But Functional MRI may detect cognitive deterioration before it is observed on neuropsychological testing.
(5 minutes)
Treatment of cognitive dysfunction Pharmacology Treatment
Treatments are Prophylactic (prevent occurrence and slow progression of cognitive deterioration) and Symptomatic (alleviate immediate effects of cognitive dysfunction).
(5.5 minutes)

This and other satellite broadcasts are available for free on DVD. Go to this link to see the full set of DVDs available http://www.va.gov/MS/Products/DVDs or contact Dr. Marsha Tarver, Associate Director of Education, MSCoE-West marsha.tarver@va.gov