Improving the diagnosis of cognitive impairment in MS


Dr Charles Malpas

University of Melbourne, VIC

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Fellowship | 2021 | Investigator Led Research |


Cognition (thinking and memory) issues can be common in people living with MS and may present in many ways, such as problems with attention, concentration and language. However, exactly how these different cognitive functions impact on or interact with each other’s function is unknown. Presently there does not exist a universal model of potential cognitive impairment in MS to assist clinicians in the diagnosis and management of cognitive issues for affected people living with MS.

Dr Malpas aims to address this gap in knowledge by evaluating a new model to assess cognitive impairment in people living with MS and to translate this model into clinical use. This study will explore basic models of cognitive function to see how separate areas of cognition (called fundamental and instrumental) are inter-related to each other. For example, how basic functions such as attention and processing speed (fundamental) and higher-level functions such as memory and language (instrumental) interact. It is anticipated that this research may develop a new model of cognitive impairment in MS for health care professionals to use, leading to improvements in both diagnosis and management. Ultimately this will improve cognitive rehabilitation, communication between clinicians, patient education and quality of life for people living with MS.

Updated 20 January 2021

Updated: 19 January, 2021

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

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Total Funding

  • $165,000


  • 3 years

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Associate Professor Anthony Don

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Improving the diagnosis of cognitive impairment in MS