Background: Cognitive training elicits mild-to-moderate improvements in cognitive functioning in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), although response heterogeneity limits overall effectiveness. Objective: To identify patient characteristics associated with response and non-response to cognitive training. Methods: Eighty-two PwMS were randomized into a 7-week attention training (n = 58, age = 48.4 ± 10.2 years) or a waiting-list control group (n = 24, age = 48.5 ± 9.4 years). Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was obtained at baseline and post-intervention. Twenty-one healthy controls (HCs, age = 50.27 ± 10.15 years) were included at baseline. Responders were defined with a reliable change index of 1.64 on at least 2/6 cognitive domains. General linear models and logistic regression were applied. Results: Responders (n = 36) and non-responders (n = 22) did not differ on demographics, clinical variables and baseline cognition and structural MRI. However, non-responders exhibited a higher baseline functional connectivity (FC) between the default-mode network (DMN) and the ventral attention network (VAN), compared with responders (p = 0.018) and HCs (p = 0.001). Conversely, responders exhibited no significant baseline differences in FC compared with HCs. Response to cognitive training was predicted by lower DMN-VAN FC (p = 0.004) and DMN-frontoparietal FC (p = 0.029) (Nagelkerke R2 = 0.25). Conclusion: An intact pre-intervention FC is associated with cognitive training responsivity in pwMS, suggesting a window of opportunity for successful cognitive interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date28 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2022


  • Functional MRI
  • multiple sclerosis
  • quantitative MRI
  • rehabilitation
  • resting-state
  • treatment response

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