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Cognitive Interventions in Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation

SHS hosts guest lectures by internationally renowned researchers Dr. John DeLuca and Dr. Yael Goverover

November 12, 2015
Dr. John DeLuca is senior vice president of research at the Kessler Foundation Research Center and Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurology, and Neuroscience at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
Dr. John DeLuca is senior vice president of research at the Kessler Foundation Research Center and Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurology, and Neuroscience at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Both experts in the field of cognitive dysfunction, neuropsychologist Dr. DeLuca is senior vice president of research at the Kessler Foundation Research Center and Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurology, and Neuroscience at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Goverover—who received her doctorate in Occupational Therapy from NYU—is an associate professor at NYU and currently a visiting professor at the Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Laboratory of Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Center.

More than 60% of patients with MS struggle with cognitive deficits, which profoundly affect everyday life activity. Approximately 85 percent of people with MS are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), which is characterized by clearly defined attacks of worsening neurological function followed by periods of remission. In addition to presenting their joint functional-neuroimaging studies, which demonstrated the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation on MS, Drs. DeLuca and Goverover compared various methods of enhancing patients’ abilities to re-learn critical life skills. Drs. DeLuca and Goverover delved into the nature and severity of MS and epidemiological factors, such as age and gender, that affect MS susceptibility.

This lecture was part of a three-part continuing education credit-bearing series on cutting-edge perspectives on rehabilitation offered by the School of Health Sciences. Two prior talks were given in October 2014 and April 2015; the former on Executive Functions and Dysfunction by neuropsychologist Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, and the latter on Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation by physician Dr. Nathan D. Zasler.

Dr. Yael Goverover is an associate professor at NYU and currently a visiting professor at the Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Laboratory of Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Center.Dr. Yael Goverover is an associate professor at NYU and currently a visiting professor at the Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Laboratory of Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Center.

Gail Tishcoff, M.A., OTR/L, director of rehabilitation services at The Shield Institute, attended all three lectures. “I was very impressed by the caliber of all the speakers, who were excellent,” she said. “Despite the complexity of the topic, and despite the fact that I do not directly treat MS patients, I found both speakers easy to follow—and the content was relevant to me as well. The lectures made me want to design research in my clinic!”

“We at the School of Health Sciences were honored to have hosted Drs. DeLuca and Goverover,” said Assistant Dean of the School of Health Sciences Dr. Andrew Siegal. “As scholars of international repute, both have done a tremendous amount of research in traumatic brain injury—the former contributing heavily to our understanding of cognitive fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. We were privileged to have had them share with us and our alumni a portion of their extensive knowledge on MS.”

The DeLuca and Goverover lecture, which was held at Touro’s Lander College for Women on West 60th St in Manhattan, offered .2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) gratis to all occupational therapists and physical therapists who attended.

The School of Health Sciences provides free CEUs—and free admission to all continuing education lectures—to alumni of its occupational and physical therapy programs. Practitioners who serve as fieldwork clinical supervisors and mentors to SHS students also receive free CEUs “in gratitude for their excellence and devotion to working with School of Health Science students,” says Dean Louis Primavera.