Detecting early changes in memory and speed-of-thinking to improve MS care

Dr Daniel Merlo

Monash University

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Fellowship | 2022 | Investigator Led Research |


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the nervous system. Up to 65% of people living with MS will experience changes in how their brains process information such as difficulties in memory recall, problem solving and processing speed (speed of thinking). These changes contribute to difficulties in performing everyday tasks such as maintaining employment and social interactions. Some of these changes can be very subtle, making them difficult to measure in the MS clinic. Existing tests to measure these changes are not suitable for routine use due to the length of time required to perform them and the inability to measure subtle changes over time.  

Our research project aims to use an established computerised test to measure long-term changes in areas of thinking that are commonly affected in people living with MS. We aim to define changes on these tests that are clinically relevant to worsening of other MS symptoms and to changes in the ability to perform daily tasks such as work productivity. The development and validation of tests that can measure subtle changes in memory and thinking of people living with MS could provide their neurologists with more information to make better mutual clinical care decisions. 

Updated: 14 February, 2022

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years


Grant Awarded

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship

Total Funding

  • $225,000


  • 3 years

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Detecting early changes in memory and speed-of-thinking to improve MS care