Nancy L. Sicotte, MD
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
NMSS Area: Southern California Chapter
Award: Research Grant
Term/Amount: 4/1/07-3/31/09; $277,640
“Hippocampal volume loss in MS: clinical consequences” Exploring how brain tissue loss in specific regions relates to memory functions in MS.
Many people with multiple sclerosis experience cognitive problems, which can dramatically affect quality of life. Little is known about the underlying cause for such problems in MS and available treatments do not target these impairments directly.
Nancy L. Sicotte, MD, is focusing on the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is known to be important in memory processes, but has not been studied extensively in MS. Her team is using high-resolution MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to study the structure of the hippocampus to determine if there are detectible changes in people with MS as compared to controls. Sophisticated imaging approaches are being used to look at subregions of the hippocampus that are known to have specific functions such as the learning of new material or the recall of learned material, in order to determine if brain tissue loss is occurring in these regions, and if this occurrence is related to memory performance.
These studies will further our understanding of cognitive dysfunction in MS, and help to target future therapies to address cognitive symptoms specifically.