Presenter's Name(s)

Brittany BelangerFollow

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Michael Cannizzaro

Secondary Mentor NetID

skasser

Secondary Mentor Name

Susan Kasser

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Neuroscience

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

Presentation Title

Cognitive Dual-Task Cost in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Time

9:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Health Sciences

Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that negatively impacts various cognitive and motor aspects. It has been extensively shown that individuals with MS perform worse when completing a motor task and cognitive task simultaneously (dual-tasking), than when they perform a single task. Dual-tasking is a very common aspect of daily life, therefore any deficits, as are present in individuals with MS, increase fall risk which consequently reduces quality of life. Research in this area adopts a dual-task paradigm in which performance while dual-tasking is compared to performance while single-tasking to assess a dual-task cost, or a decrease in function while dual-tasking. Most research to date has focused on the motor outcome measures during dual-tasking and there is a current lack of understanding in how the cognitive outcome measures are affected. The present study assessed cognitive performance during dual-tasking as compared to single-tasking for several challenging tasks, some of which have never been studied in this paradigm before, such as language production tasks. Additionally, blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) in the brain was measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) during this dual-tasking procedure. Measuring blood flow to the brain can be used as a proxy for neuronal activation, so this data provided a more nuanced understanding of how dual-tasking affects brain physiology in individuals with MS. We hypothesize that there will be heightened PFC activation during dual-tasking in individuals with MS compared to single-tasking across all tasks. We also hypothesize that there will be an inverse relationship between PFC activation and cognitive outcomes during dual-tasking, meaning that as PFC activation increases, cognitive performance variables will decrease. The results will provide an insight to the functional brain mechanisms of individuals with MS while they perform demanding and ecologically valid dual-tasks, such as walking and talking.

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Cognitive Dual-Task Cost in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that negatively impacts various cognitive and motor aspects. It has been extensively shown that individuals with MS perform worse when completing a motor task and cognitive task simultaneously (dual-tasking), than when they perform a single task. Dual-tasking is a very common aspect of daily life, therefore any deficits, as are present in individuals with MS, increase fall risk which consequently reduces quality of life. Research in this area adopts a dual-task paradigm in which performance while dual-tasking is compared to performance while single-tasking to assess a dual-task cost, or a decrease in function while dual-tasking. Most research to date has focused on the motor outcome measures during dual-tasking and there is a current lack of understanding in how the cognitive outcome measures are affected. The present study assessed cognitive performance during dual-tasking as compared to single-tasking for several challenging tasks, some of which have never been studied in this paradigm before, such as language production tasks. Additionally, blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) in the brain was measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) during this dual-tasking procedure. Measuring blood flow to the brain can be used as a proxy for neuronal activation, so this data provided a more nuanced understanding of how dual-tasking affects brain physiology in individuals with MS. We hypothesize that there will be heightened PFC activation during dual-tasking in individuals with MS compared to single-tasking across all tasks. We also hypothesize that there will be an inverse relationship between PFC activation and cognitive outcomes during dual-tasking, meaning that as PFC activation increases, cognitive performance variables will decrease. The results will provide an insight to the functional brain mechanisms of individuals with MS while they perform demanding and ecologically valid dual-tasks, such as walking and talking.