New study aims to treat cognitive impairment in persons living with Multiple Sclerosis


LONDON, ON – Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is known to cause problems with mobility, balance and vision. It can also affect cognition, a person’s ability to think and remember. The invisible symptoms of MS, including cognitive impairment, can have devastating effects on the lives of persons with MS, as well as their families.

Specifically, MS affects information processing speed, or the ability to take in and interpret information quickly and meaningfully. Patients with processing speed problems often complain of being slower to respond, and that simple tasks require more time, attention and focus than in the past.

A new study from Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) aims to improve processing speed in persons with MS by examining the effect of Adderall XR, a slow release amphetamine medication, on those who demonstrate impaired processing speed. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either 10 mg or 20 mg of Adderall XR, or placebo, for twelve weeks.

In addition to monitoring processing speed, researchers will also examine memory, fatigue, mood and quality of life, to ensure any benefit measured translates into a tangible change in day to day life.

MS is one of the most common neurological disorders, with 2.3 million people diagnosed worldwide. It is believed that hundreds of thousands more are undiagnosed, and many are impacted indirectly by caring for someone with MS.

May 30, is World MS Day. This year’s global campaign, called “My Invisible MS,” is focused on raising awareness and bringing visibility to the hidden symptoms of the disease.

“These invisible symptoms of MS can impact a person’s life as much as other physical symptoms. They can affect a person’s employment, their ability to drive, their relationships and quality of life,” explains Dr. Sarah Morrow, Associate Scientist at Lawson, and Director of the London MS Clinic at London Health Sciences Centre.

Cognitive impairment affects 40 – 60 per cent of persons with MS. Furthermore, previous studies have demonstrated that, once present, cognitive impairment is unlikely to improve, and there is a high risk of it getting worse over time. To date there are no treatments available to help with the decline of cognition in persons with MS.

“If this study proves positive, persons with MS will, for the first time, have a verified treatment to improve cognitive impairment, allowing them to continue on with their life, and improve their overall wellbeing,” says Dr. Morrow.

This is one example of how Lawson is contributing to making Ontario Healthier, Wealthier and Smarter.




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About Lawson Health Research Institute

Lawson Health Research Institute is one of Canada’s top hospital-based research institutes, tackling the most pressing challenges in health care. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, our innovation happens where care is delivered. Lawson research teams are at the leading-edge of science with the goal of improving health and the delivery of care for patients. Working in partnership with Western University, our researchers are encouraged to pursue their curiosity, collaborate often and share their discoveries widely. Research conducted through Lawson makes a difference in the lives of patients, families and communities around the world. To learn more, visit

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Celine Zadorsky

Communications Consultant & External Relations
Lawson Health Research Institute
T: 519-685-8500 ext. 75664
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