Brain imaging and behavior 8(3) 394-402 doi 10.1007/s11682-012-9183-2
Identifying effective behavioral treatments to improve memory in persons with learning and memory impairment is a primary goal for neurorehabilitation researchers. Memory deficits are the most common cognitive symptom in multiple sclerosis (MS), and hold negative professional and personal consequences for people who are often in the prime of their lives when diagnosed. A 10-session behavioral treatment, the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT), was studied in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Behavioral improvements and increased fMRI activation were shown after treatment. Here, connectivity within the neural networks underlying memory function was examined with resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) in a subset of participants from the clinical trial. We hypothesized that the treatment would result in increased integrity of connections within two primary memory networks of the brain, the hippocampal memory network, and the default network (DN). Seeds were placed in left and right hippocampus, and the posterior cingulate cortex. Increased connectivity was found between left hippocampus and cortical regions specifically involved in memory for visual imagery, as well as among critical hubs of the DN. These results represent the first evidence for efficacy of a behavioral intervention to impact the integrity of neural networks subserving memory functions in persons with MS.