Meet the Lab!

Improving Functional Outcomes in Multiple Sclerosis

The Sumowski Laboratory for Improving Functional Outcomes in Multiple Sclerosis seeks to identify risk and protective factors linked to cognitive, physical, and emotional health in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), and to develop intervention programs to preserve or improve functional status and quality of life. Dr. Sumowski has developed the concept of “reserve” against disability in persons with MS: the observation that factors such as mental activity and healthy lifestyles help to protect against cognitive decline despite neurologic disease.

Dr. Sumowski is leading a prospective NIH R01 study of risk and protective factors for disease progression and functional outcomes in persons with early MS, which focuses on modifiable lifestyle factors such as mental and physical activity, cardiovascular health, diet, stress, and sleep. This investigation benefits from the multidisciplinary team of MS experts in the Corinne G. Dickinson Center for MS at Mount Sinai Hospital, and other colleagues in the Department of Neurology. Preliminary data from this “Reserve: Early MS Cohort Study” suggests that healthy lifestyle choices within a person’s control can help preserve cognitive and physical function.

The Sumowski Laboratory seeks to improve the scientific basis and clinical impact of the MS cognitive neuroscience literature, with the goal of developing testable theoretical models of cognitive deficits to inform the development of evidence-based interventions. The Sumowski Laboratory is engaged in clinical trial research to improve cognition, and the laboratory is developing new and improved methods for assessing cognitive and physical outcomes.

Our research is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS).