Evidenced-Based Cognitive Rehabilitation for Persons With Multiple Sclerosis: An Updated Review of the Literature From 2007 to 2016

Published:September 25, 2017DOI:



      To update the clinical recommendations for cognitive rehabilitation of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), based on a systematic review of the literature from 2007 through 2016.

      Data Sources

      Searches of MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL were conducted with a combination of the following terms: attention, awareness, cognition, cognitive, communication, executive, executive function, language, learning, memory, perception, problem solving, reasoning, rehabilitation, remediation, training, processing speed, and working memory. One hundred twenty-nine articles were identified and underwent initial screening.

      Study Selection

      Fifty-nine articles were selected for inclusion after initial screening. Nineteen studies were excluded after further detailed review. Forty studies were fully reviewed and evaluated.

      Data Extraction

      Articles were assigned to 1 of 6 categories: attention, learning and memory, processing speed and working memory, executive functioning, metacognition, or nonspecified/combined cognitive domains. Articles were abstracted and levels of evidence were decided using specific criteria.

      Data Synthesis

      The current review yielded 6 class I studies, 10 class II studies, and 24 class III studies. One intervention in the area of verbal learning and memory received support for a practice standard, 2 computer programs received support as practice guidelines (in the area of attention and multicognitive domains), and several studies provided support for 5 practice options in the domains of attention and learning and memory.


      Substantial progress has been made since our previous review regarding the identification of effective treatments for cognitive impairments in persons with MS. However, much work remains to be done to optimize rehabilitation potential by applying the most methodologically rigorous research designs to provide class I evidence in support of a given treatment strategy.


      List of abbreviations:

      AAN (American Academy of Neurology), APT (attention process training), CR (cognitive rehabilitation), GAS (goal attainment scaling), MS (multiple sclerosis), mSMT (modified Story Memory Technique), RCT (randomized controlled trial)
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