According to researchers at NYU Langone’s Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center, cognitive abilities of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) could be improved by pairing training with an approach known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The study – which was published in the journal, Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface – could offer a more effective method of cognitive training, which patients can perform at home.
The tDCS technology uses electrodes placed on the scalp to pass a small direct current through the brain. The idea is that this current can encourage neurons to fire more rapidly, thereby improving learning ability during brain training and rehabilitation.
The NYU researchers reported that MS patients who wore at tDCS headset while completing cognitive training computer games saw greater improvements in cognitive measures such as information processing, compared to the computer game alone. As MS progressively worsens, patients may find it challenging to visit a clinic for cognitive training, making it possible that this home based program could significantly improve patients’ quality of life.
“Our research adds evidence that tDCS, while done remotely under a supervised treatment protocol, may provide an exciting new treatment option for patients with multiple sclerosis who cannot get relief for some of their cognitive symptoms,” said Dr. Leigh E. Charvet, associate professor of neurology and director of research at NYU Langone’s Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center. “Many MS medications are aimed at preventing disease flares but those drugs do not help with daily symptom management, especially cognitive problems. We hope tDCS will fill this crucial gap and help improve quality of life for people with MS.”
The CDC reports that as of November of last year, 37 percent of children between the age of six months and 17 years had received the flu vaccine. The same percentage of adults aged 18 to 64 were vaccinated in this time, with adults over the age of 65 seeing the highest vaccination rate at 57 percent.
“As of February 3, 2017, approximately 145 million doses of influenza vaccine had been distributed in the United States for the 2016–17 season,” wrote the authors of the CDC report. “Because influenza activity remains elevated, CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend that annual influenza vaccination efforts continue as long as influenza viruses are circulating.”
This observational study used vaccination data from 3,144 children and adults enrolled in the US Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network (US Flu VE Network) to estimate the national effectiveness of the flu vaccine. The authors admit that the results of the report are limited based on the fact that vaccination status was self-reported at four of the five study sites.