RYPMA WILL STUDY HOW BLOOD FLOW CHANGES AFFECT COGNITION IN MS PATIENTS
University of Texas at Dallas researcher Bart Rypma, Ph.D., has been awarded more than $490,000 in a grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to investigate how changes in blood flow can affect cognition in persons with MS.
Rypma, Meadows Foundation chair and associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, is principal investigator at the Center for BrainHealth.
“Multiple sclerosis affects over 2.3 million people worldwide, and those diagnosed often complain of an overall slowing of thought,” Rypma said in a release. “Still, very little is known about what changes occur in the brain that cause cognitive slowing in MS.”
He said that using “functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine cerebral blood flow and neural metabolic rate,” investigators hope to pinpoint which brain systems are responsible.
Some 80 participants with multiple sclerosis will undergo structural and functional brain imaging and neuropsychological evaluation as part of the study, the university said in the release.
It said that the researchers will gather a set of measurements “never before collected in a single group of MS patients using the latest imaging techniques.”
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AFFECTS 400,000 PEOPLE IN THE U.S.
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, an estimated 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.5 million worlwide have MS. Roughly 200 new cases are diagnosed each week, according to the foundation.
The researchers will evaluate which brain systems — motor, visual or executive — are most responsible for cognitive slowing, according to the release.
Besides problems in focusing and remembering, symptoms can include trouble walking, feeling tired, blurred or double vision, muscle weakness or spasms, numbness and tingling, sexual problems, poor bladder or bowel control, pain, and depression.
Previously, Rypma’s research focused on disconnections in brain networks and and the cognitive effects of MS, and the new grant will help build on that work, the university said.
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